Did Arctic Cat/Textron Abandon It’s Customers, Again?
In an article that was written two years ago about the acquisition of Arctic Cat by Textron called “Did Arctic Cat Abandon Its Customers” there were lots of speculation, excitement and sadness of what the company was doing and the direction they were taking the company.
After roughly two years since the acquisition, we have watched and witnessed many of the predictions come into reality.
When we think back to the day in 2017, Textron demolished the loyal arctic cat off-road name and replaced it with its own name. To say the least, we were confused, bewildered, and straight out disappointed. These guys literally destroyed an already existing brand that has spent millions on branding, clothing, merchandise to have the Textron’s marketing and management team destroy a history of a known off-road company and shake the foundation of loyal arctic cat riders across Canada and the USA.
In January 2019, someone actually came to their senses within Textron and got them to change their off-road division back to Arctic Cat instead of trying to brand Textron into everyone’s households.
Similar to what we witnessed in 2017, we are still seeing many Arctic Cat Powersports dropping product lines or closing their doors. Although, there are a few strong dealerships that are thriving in the environment with less competition and strong rebates and discounts.
We even witnessed a few Arctic Cat dealerships converted the majority of their business models and veered to become a Textron EZ-GO Golf Cart destinations instead of focusing on ATVs and Snowmobiles.
As was predicted in 2017, Textron would contribute some of their DNA into Arctic Cat. They recently brought to market an interesting concept of a snowmobile called the Alpha One mountain snowmobile, which is going head to head with the Polaris Pro-RMK on a unique monorail track system.
They also have incorporated some interesting technologies into the already existing products.
Textron has owned Arctic Cat since 2017, and since then, they have been offering huge rebates on in-stock models to try to increase market share.
This, unfortunately, is negatively affecting the customers who have already pre-ordered and paid sale prices to have the manufacturer a month down the road the factory offer crazy discounts on their products.
Textron has continued this business practice for over two years and is showing no signs of it stopping. Customers who purchased last year’s non-current models are being rewarded, where if you buy a current model year, you can expect huge discounts arriving shortly after purchase, making yours nearly impossible to sell unless you take a large loss on it.
Did you or one of your friends or family purchase one of the Alpha One snowmobiles in 2018 when they got released, they were going for around $16,500+. During the 2020 pre-order, Arctic Cat put massive rebates on the 2020 Alphas, which had dealers selling them for $12,500. That means someone who purchased a 2019 model instantly got $4000 depreciation to go along with his average mileage and yearly depreciation. Imagine if you financed a snowmobile, you’re never getting going to be able to upgrade, or if you do, it’s going to be costly.
This was not just something they offered on Alpha models; they offered similar pricing drops across their whole lineup.
Of course, this is great for new customers entering the market, but anyone who was loyal and existing customers wearing the cat gear feel like they are getting the short end of the stick.
Textron decided to change their Off-Road vehicle name back to Arctic Cat, which is a good move but on the other hand, a bit crazy. For the last two years, Arctic Cat dealerships were pushing customers into the newest and greatest vehicles that are “Textron.” They now abandoned every customer; they sold a Textron to making that brand non-existent, causing anyone who owns a Textron vehicle to have a considerable drop in resale or trade value. A good name like Polaris, Yamaha, Can-AM, and Arctic Cat carries its weight in gold for resale value to loyal riders. But trying to sell an unknown vehicle that no one has heard of makes it tough to resell. This reminds us of those Chinese ATVs and Dirt Bikes Canadian Tire sold for a few years then stopped selling, leaving the customers to fend for themselves.
Did you ever own one of those Chinese bikes? Do you even remember the name of them? Have you ever tried to sell or trade it into a dealership, how many dealerships were excited for the opportunity to take them off your hands?
As a dealer watching from the outside in, we continue to feel the Arctic Cat/Textron customers frustration. We hear it on the phones, emails, text messages as they are calling switching brands and trying to trade their Arctic Cats ATVs, Textrons, and Snowmobiles.
So far, with two years of ownership, Textron’s engineers brought some interesting concepts into the snowmobiling world, but at the same time, we feel they have caused more harm than good. Similar to what happened in 2017, no one expects to purchase a snowmobile or ATV and have the manufacturer drop the price by $4000 the month or even a year after they bought it. This is unfair and crazy to take advantage of your loyal customers like this. On the bright side, Textron realized the mistake of abolishing the Arctic Cat off-road brand. It brought it back, unfortunately by fixing the thing they should have never done in the first place now destroyed resale values of the new Textron ownership customers.
We personally believe with the renaming from Textron back to Arctic Cat, leads to the idea Textron is planning to sell off the company again as they know they can’t sell a company-branded with their name.
These views above are solely ours from us watching from afar and from our experience and shared by customers or other dealers who have switched brands or wanted to share their frustrations with us. We do not have any relation to Arctic Cat other than we take them on trade often for resale.
What do you think, did Arctic Cat Abandon its customers with the Textron line. What are they doing that’s good, what is bad? We would love to hear from other current or past Arctic Cat Dealerships on where they see the outlook of the company going. Leave some feedback below.