Snowmobiles

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Snowmobiles

INDUSTRIAL CODES

NAICS: 33-6999 Transportation Equipment Manufacturing, not elsewhere classified

SIC: 3799 Transportation Equipment, not elsewhere classified

NAICS-Based Product Codes: 33-69995414

PRODUCT OVERVIEW

A snowmobile is a motor-driven tracked vehicle intended for use on snow. The weight of the rider is supported on a wide track typically made of Kevlar, a synthetic fabric. A two- or four-stroke engine under the hood of the machine up front causes the track to rotate, impelling the snowmobile forward—or back if the model has appropriate gearing for reverse. The engine and gearing are mounted under a decorative hood supported by a pair of skis that also serve to steer the snowmobile by handle bars similar to those used on motorcycles. Because snowmobiles have leading sets of skis, they are referred to as sleds although, from a functional point of view, they are ski-guided tractors. The typical snowmobile has a single, wide track. One producer, Alpina, offers snowmobiles with dual tracks suitable for moving greater loads.

Categories of Use

Snowmobiles are differentiated principally by: (1) the type of terrain on which they are expected to be used, (2) the activity to be undertaken, and (3) by the relative comfort the user demands. Each of the four major producers in the business offers sleds by categories. For instance, Bombardier groups its sleds around high performance, luxury, trail touring, sports/utility, mountain, and freestyle categories. Polaris uses the categories of performance, crossover, deep snow, trail, two-up touring, and luxury/sport. Arctic Cat names its segments performance, touring, mountain, and hybrid. Yamaha, finally, arranges its offerings around rough trail, groomed trail, trail versatile, mountain, touring, and work.

Categories like freestyle, crossover, hybrid, and versatile indicate snowmobiles designed to operate with reasonable performance on publicly maintained trails as well as terrain on which no groomed paths have been prepared, including forest lands or frozen-over lakes. Categories that refer to trails or touring point to machines in the middle of the performance and price spectrum intended for the least adventurous snowmobiler—as user's call themselves; the activity itself is known as snowmobiling. The performance category typically refers to high-end products with significant power; luxury has the same connotation but also signals comfort provided by superior spring action and special seats. Producers use the sports category to designate racing sleds; these have the most power, achieve very high speeds, and cost the most. Deep snow and mountain categories point at snowmobiles of the most rugged design, powerful enough to plow through very deep snow and to overcome very steep grades while retaining maximal stability. Work or utility sleds are designed for day-to-day use in climates where snow is around for a good part of the year. These are simply winter vehicles and are differentiated from recreational snowmobiles by having power enough to pull heavy loads, structural features to carry more weight, and storage space to hold imple-ments. Utility snowmobiles are also the vehicles used by park rangers and security forces.

Most snowmobiles are made for recreation. In most regions where snow is common and persists for most of the winter, private and public agencies, for instance clubs, associations, and county governments, maintain groomed trails for snowmobilers. These routes snake through open country and wooded areas and sometimes cross lakes; they may at times parallel roads without interfering with traffic; trails also often pass close by what aficionados refer to as watering holes, thus restaurants, taverns, and hotels for overnight stays. Here snowmobilers may stop off for a bite, a drink, or a night's stay along the way. A limited number of snowmobiles are designed to accommodate two people; these are the longest kind and have special seats; couples can thus go snowmobiling on a single sled. Small sleds for youths are also available and represent the bottom of the price range. About 80 percent of snowmobiles are used for trail riding and touring. People who live in areas where groomed trails are uncommon tend to buy crossover/hybrid machines to give them more features to handle rougher terrain.

Technical Differentiations

Most snowmobiles are 4 feet wide and 9 to 10 feet long. Youth models are 3 feet wide and 6 feet long. Weight ranges from 145 pounds for a youth model on up to more than 670 pounds for a high-end two-up sled. Most machines weigh around 500 pounds. Horsepower may be as low as 8 hp for a youth vehicle and up to 150 hp for a high-performance sled.

Snowmobiles are classified by engine displacement measured in cubic centimeters. A high displacement means that more fuel is available at every explosion, and more force is therefore transferred to the track: the bigger the number the higher the power. For purposes of racing, classes are set at 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, and 1,000 cc. An engine with 599 cc displacement will be classed as a Class 600, one with 750 cc as an 800, a 998 cc engine as a Class 1000, and so on. The displacement is sometimes integrated into the model's name to entice the knowledgeable buyer. Arctic Cat's T 500 and Polaris' 600 HO (for high output) are examples. Dedicated snowmobilers tend to be competitive and buy machines that proclaim, even in their name, the mechanical muscles bulging under their sleek hoods. A youngster with a 121 cc beginner's sled has something to aspire to.

Engines come in two- and four-stroke versions, usually with two cylinders. The pros and cons of these engines are, and have always been, hotly debated in boating, in recreational vehicle, and even in lawn care circles. The basic difference between the two types of machines is that two-stroke engines deliver more power per weight, are lighter, and cheaper. They require a mixture of gasoline and oil for operation. In the past oil and gas had to be mixed by the user. Modern machines come with so-called semi-direct injection technology in which engines ingest oil from a separate tank as they operate. On the negative side two-stroke engines are thirstier, dirtier, and louder. They use more gas, put out more smoke, and lay down a smelly trail. Controversy also surrounds semi-direct injection; some aficionados are dubious about its benefits. Four-stroke engines are cleaner, they produce less smoke, they use fuel more efficiently, and they run more quietly. On the negative side these engines are substantially more expensive, heavier, and slower in response. They also need regular oil changes. The most powerful snowmobiles feature four-stroke engines.

Pricing

Based on data released by the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA), the average suggested retail price for a snowmobile in 2007 was $8,700. The year 2007 in this context refers to the winter of 2006 and 2007. Producers in the industry typically offer sleds, even within a particular model, at three or four price points. In the 2007 season these ranged from around $5,200 to $6,200 at the low end, $7,000 to $8,000 in the middle, and $9,000 to $10,000 at the high end. These levels were for casual, heavy, and for sports and utility users, respectively. Very high-performance sleds were available for racers at one end and to professionals at the other priced in the $11,000 to $12,000-plus range. At the very low-end were beginner sleds costing $2,200 with no product offered in the range between $2,200 and $5,000.

The consumer looking for a snowmobile has a very large choice between machines. Bombardier offers forty models under eleven category names, Arctic Cat thirty-eight arranged into four groupings, Polaris thirty-three divided into five lines, and Yamaha offers twenty-one models under six categories. In the age of the Internet the snowmobile shopper has superb resources available to look at and to compare models. All of the producers display their wares online offering pictures, feature presentations, and detailed specifications. Links to dealerships are provided so that the shopper, armed with printouts, knows precisely where to go.

Industry Characteristics

The most important feature of the industry is its seasonality and its high dependence on future weather. Snowmobiles are produced in the summer, delivered in late summer and fall, and sold in the fall and winter. Producers must decide on the size and the precise make-up of what is known as the build. The build is the quantity of sleds to be manufactured by model. With large numbers of models, the decision process is complex. Manufactures must also reach decisions about the build long before any kind of indications are available about the kind of winter that may lie ahead. They study sales histories and consult intensely with the distribution channel. Most sleds made are built to the order or firm commitment of distributors, be those outsiders or wholly-owned branches. Distributors, in turn, poll their dealers in order to determine how many and what kinds of sleds they will buy.

The ideal season is one in which just the right number of sleds are built matching future snow conditions. The entire build moves through the pipeline leaving dealers sold out at season's end. Given life's unpredictability, the typical outcome is more likely to be too much or too little. When the build is too big and the demand is low because the snow fails, the pipeline will be left far too full. Alternatively, a great winter causes a surge in demand which cannot be met because there is no product. In the first instance inventories are high and must be sold off the next year at a discount. In the second distributors and dealers leave money on the table.

The seasonal nature of the business has stimulated snowmobile producers to balance their winter sales with lines of recreational vehicles and water toys to be sold in the spring, summer, and fall. A portfolio which includes both snowmobiles and recreational vehicles gives producers something to sell in winter if snow conditions are poor. Getting the snowmobile build right, however, remains a critical requirement for success in the industry.

MARKET

Data on the snowmobile industry is included by the U.S. Bureau of the Census under a category that the Bureau labels All Other Miscellaneous Transportation Equipment, Including All-terrain Vehicles. The Census Bureau suppresses all data on snowmobiles because reporting numbers would reveal the sales of the country's two domestically-owned companies. Official federal data are not available at all. The industry's trade association, however, the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, headquartered in Haslett, Michigan, has been an active data collector and provides excellent information on the industry. All data presented here were obtain from ISMA. Based on these data the North American snowmobile market in 2007 was 125,300 sleds valued at $1.07 billion, with the United States accounting for 64 percent and Canada for 36 percent of the total. The global market was somewhat larger, producing sales of 160,300 units. The 35,000 sleds reaching the rest of the world were principally used in Europe, some exported by American companies, the Canadian Bombardier, the Japanese Yamaha, and produced by Alpina Snowmobiles, the leading producer in Europe. Information from Alpina indicates that other companies participate in the business as well, including at least one Russian firm.

Whereas the first snowmachine—but one not at all resembling modern products—was built in 1922 by Joseph-Armand Bombardier in Canada, the modern industry had its origins in the mid-1950s. Since that time the industry has displayed an interesting, and interestingly cyclical, character, with periodic surges in interest followed by periods of decline. Figure 195 presents the history of the North American segment of this industry in the 1971–2007 period; the North American market was, until the 1980s, virtually equivalent to the global industry.

At the beginning of the period shown, in 1971, the industry produced 495,000 snowmobiles and generated $503.9 million in retail sales equivalent to an average sled price of $1,020. A quarter-century later, in 2007, the industry produced 125,300 units and retail sales of $1.07 billion, with the average sled costing $8,549 on average.

We can make these comparisons more realistic by removing the effects of inflation and expressing these numbers in constant 2006 dollars; 2006 dollars will include the 2006–2007 winter. Using the implicit price deflator published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, an element of the U.S. Department of Commerce, we can adjust 1971 data to show that in constant 2006 dollars the market that year was worth $861.3 billion and the average price per sled $1,744. In a quarter of a century, the market increased 24 percent, snowmobile prices increased 390 percent, and unit sales dropped 75 percent.

The year 1971 represented a peak and 2007 most likely a trough, or close to the bottom of a trough, in the very cyclical snowmobile business. If we compare data in constant dollars between 1971 and 1997, thus comparing peaks, the change between those two years was an increase in the market from $861 million to $1.14 billion (32% in the period), an increase in price from $1,744 to $4,751 (up 172%), and a decline in units sold from 495,000 to 239,000 (down 52%).

Price increases have been the unvarying constant in the 1971–2007 period, in part reflecting the technical maturing of the product over time, in part a response to a declining market in units. This pattern is shown in Figure 196. The average sled price given in inflation-adjusted dollars has increased virtually every year in this period despite highly fluctuating unit sales. The most dramatic increases began in 2002. The industry has evidently found and begun to concentrate on its best customers, transiting from serving a general market to serving a dedicated core of snowmobilers willing to pay a great deal for participation in this activity.

Snow and the Economy

Snowmobiling is a relatively young industry with a history of roughly forty years. In this period many factors associated with growth, including product evolution and public experimentation with a novel product, have influenced the market. The two factors that clearly impact snowmobile purchases, however, are snow conditions and the economy. Good snow years provide incentives for buying new product or replacing old equipment, and for using the product. The state of the economy is at least as important in that participating in this recreational activity is costly. Most customers need to travel some distance out of urban areas to use snowmobiles. In addition to the sleds, trailers, clothing, fuels, and overnight stays represent additional costs.

Snow Fall

The United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) maintains a database on weather events derived from 1,062 stations; of these 276 are located in the geographical regions where real winter weather prevails and data are reasonably continuous. Assembly and analysis of such data, thus number of snow days and amount of snow recorded, is the usual approach to obtain a broad view of trends. Such a study conducted by Dale Kaiser and E. L. Soderstrom for the 1948–2005 period indicated significantly decreasing snow fall in this period in the Pacific Northwest with both number of snow days and snow amounts declining. Snow also declined in the Midwest because snow days had dropped on averaged albeit the amount of snow that fell on each occasion remained the same across the period. Snow occurrence increased in the northern-most slice of the country from northern North Dakota east to New York State. This would indirectly suggest that Canada had increasing snow as well. Snowfall also increased in a region extending from northern New Mexico into Oklahoma—although this region generally falls outside the snowmobiling belt which is formed by the northern tier of states, with most activity taking place in the Upper Midwest.

An example of more recent and more localized snow fall history comes from Michigan Tech's Keweenaw Research Center. The center has available annualized snowfall records going back to 1890 for Houghton County located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, a typical snowmobiling venue. These records show annual snowfall averaging 197 inches in the 1960s, 252 inches in the 1970s, 234 inches in the 1980s, 172 inches in the 1990s, and 219 inches in the 2001–2006 period. Annual data analyzed statistically indicate a downward trend, if not as steep as that of unit sales in snowmobiles. Both trend lines, however, point down. Annual snowfall maps for the United States as a whole, published by the National Climatic Data Center, available from 1997 to 2004, generally bear out the observations made by Michigan Tech.

GDP

The economic weather is monitored by the Gross Domestic Product. In the period under consideration here (1971–2007), the economy passed through four recessionary periods in 1980, 1981–1982, 1990, and in 2001–2002. Unit sales volumes do not correlate precisely with economic downturns but do show their effects. In the early part of this period unit sales dropped sharply in 1975 possibly because the market had been saturated in the early 1970s, with unit sales, for example, increasing from 85,000 in 1968 to 255,000 in 1969 to 494,000 in 1971. Growth resumed in 1977 but dropped steeply in the 1980–1983 period, rebounding after that. Unit sales grew until 1997 and began to drop thereafter, in part moved downward by the 2001–2002 recession.

United States and Canada

Figure 197 shows the snowmobile market for the more recent 1987–2007 period in actual dollars for the United States and Canada. In 1987 U.S. sales stood at $177 million and Canada's sales at $122 million (in U.S. currency), the United States holding 59 percent of the North American Market. In 2007 U.S. sales were $686 million, Canada's $386 million, the United States now accounting for 64 percent of the market. In the 1987–2007 period the U.S. industry grew at an annual rate of 7 percent, the Canadian at 5.9 percent. In the more recent 1997–2007 period, U.S. sales declined at the rate of 3.8 percent whereas Canadian sales kept climbing but at a nominal 0.6 percent yearly.

KEY PRODUCERS/MANUFACTURERS

Bombardier

The leading snowmobile producer at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century was Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP). Until December 2003, BRP was part of Bombardier Inc., the Canadian aerospace and train vehicle manufacturer. In 2003 BRP was spun off and has since operated as a privately held corporation with ownership held by Bain Investments (50%), the Bombardier family (35%), and the Canadian Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (15%). As noted earlier, Joseph-Armand Bombardier is intimately associated with snowmobiles by having produced the original product.

It was a Ford auto engine mounted on the back of a large structure of sleighs moving the vehicle forward by turning a huge propeller. The year was 1922 and the product had a ways to go yet. The name of BRP's iconic brand, the Ski-doo, has an amusing history. According to the archives of the Canadian Broadcasting System, Bombardier intended to call the snowmobile a ski-dog. The advertising agency employed to produce the earliest advertising materials misread its instruction and, thinking that Bombardier meant to draw on the phrase "to skee-doodle" for getting going rendered the brand name in conformity. Bombardier saw the change and liked it. The company uses engines produced by Rotax, a subsidiary. Rotax, founded in Dresden, Germany in 1920, later moved to Austria, was acquired by Bombardier Inc. in 1970 and sold as part of the recreational division to BRP. BRP's sales, reported in January 2005, were Can$2.47 billion ($1.99 billion in U.S. valuation). The company's products are the Ski-doo and Lynx snowmobiles, the Sea-doo watercraft, Johnson and Evinrude motors, and the Can-Am all-terrain vehicles. In 2005 BRP was estimated to hold a 32 percent share of the snowmobile market.

Polaris

Polaris Industries Inc. had revenues in 2006 of $1.66 billion of which $166 million represented snowmobile sales. Headquartered in Medina, Minnesota, the company originated in Roseau, Minnesota, near the Canadian border as Heteen Hoist and Derrick, a producer of agricultural implements. The company is a co-founder of the category in that the three owners of Heteen Hoist and Derrick, David Johnson, Edgar Heteen, and Allan Heteen developed their own snowmobile in the 1950s. They named their product after the North Star. Edgar Heteen, furthermore, founded Arctic Enterprises, which, in the latter years of the first decade of the 2000s, had become a leading factor in the category. Textron acquired the company in 1968, just before a phenomenal expansion in the category lay ahead and sold Polaris back to management in 1981, a dismal year for snowmobiles. Polaris became a publicly traded company in 1994. Polaris' revenues from snowmobiles have been declining as a percent of the company's sales as Polaris entered the all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and then the motorcycle markets. In 1996 snowmobiles accounted for 42 percent of total revenues ($414 million), in 2006 for 10 percent ($166 million). Polaris uses engines from Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) and is part owner (40%) of FHI's Robin Manufacturing U.S.A., Inc., manufacturing engines in Hudson, Wisconsin. Polaris produces some snowmobile engines of its own in its Osceola, Wisconsin engine plant.

Arctic Cat Inc.

Arctic Cat began as Artic Enterprises in 1960 in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, still its headquarters, founded by Edgar Heteen, one of snowmobiling's founding fathers. This initial incarnation of the company ceased to operate in 1982 as Artic Enterprises declared bankruptcy—but at a time when the Artic Cat snowmobile itself had become one of the most popular. The near-collapse of the market in the 1980s had stretched the company beyond its limits. Local investors restarted the company four years later as Artco in part to satisfy customer demand for the Cat. In 1996 Artic Cat renamed itself after its most famous brand. In its fiscal year 2007 (ending in March) the company had sales revenues of $782.4 million of which snowmobiles accounted for 32 percent or $250 million. Like Polaris and BRP, Arctic Cat has also diversified so that 55 percent of its revenues in 2007 came from ATV sales. Arctic uses engines manufactured by Suzuki.

Yamaha

Yamaha Corporation, a well-known producer of musical instruments and electronics, became a motorcycle manufacturer in the 1950s principally to make use of idle equipment. After developing its motorcycle business, Yamaha established Yamaha Motor Corporation intending it to be the center of all of Yamaha's motorized products and to differentiate this activity from musical instruments and electronics. The leading personality behind this interesting diversification was Genichi Kawakami, Yamaha Motor's first president; Kawakami began thinking about motorcycles while still running a factory making pianos. The company entered the snowmobile business in 1984 by introducing its still best-known model, the Phazer. Yamaha Motors had revenues in 2006 of $13.3 billion of which $2.1 billion was earned by its power products segment. This segment includes ATVs, snowmobiles, golf cars, generators, and snowblowers. The company does not break down revenues beyond the segment and thus its total snowmobile sales are not available. In 2005 industry observers, as reported in Market Share Reporter put Yamaha's share at 16 percent of the snowmobile market and rising from previous years.

Alpina

Europe's largest snowmobile company is Alpina Snowmobiles located in Vicenza, Italy. The company produces utility snowmobiles. Its best-known brand is the Sherpa, powered by a Peugeot engine. The company is a subsidiary of Alpina srl, a publishing, consulting, and information company with a focus on the Piedmont area of northern Italy. Toward the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century Alpina was the only producer offering double-tracked snowmobiles ideal for mountain work. As a privately held organization, Alpina Snowmobiles does not publish revenue or segment data permitting determination of its sales.

In addition to these leading companies, a few others also participate in the business with very modest shares of the market. Among them is Crazy Mountain Motorsports Inc. making powerful mountain sleds but very few, just six, at a time. The company is located in Clyde Park, Montana. Another company is Snow Hawk. It manufacturers what might be called a motorcycle for snow, driven by a track and guided by a single ski. Snow Hawk is owned by AD Boivin Design Inc. located in Lévis, Quebec, in Canada. Blade Snowmobiles, located in Eveleth, Minnesota, is owned by Fast, Inc., a company that originated in 1985 and is centered around making high-performance racing sleds. Available in the used snowmobile market are sleds once made by John Deere, Kawasaki, and Redline Snowmobiles (now an ATV producer).

MATERIALS & SUPPLY CHAIN LOGISTICS

Engines represent the largest cost element in snowmobiles, one reason why we have noted the names of engine-makers when discussing the leading companies. Fabricated metal products and plastics consumed, in the form of sheets and rods, include the other major components. Snowmobile producers are located in the northern part of the United States or Canada and are therefore optimized to ship finished products the shortest possible distance. They procure their supplies and raw materials from the closest major industrial areas, generally in the Great Lakes region.

DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL

Snowmobiles reach buyers through dealerships that typically also sell and service other motorized equipment, including ATVs, motorcycles, lawn and garden equipment, and snow removal equipment. ISMA reported 1,680 dealers in the United States, 897 in Canada, and 450 in Scandinavian countries in 2007. Producers sell to dealers either directly utilizing branch operations or through independent distributors.

KEY USERS

Based on snowmobile registration data, key users are concentrated in northern tier states. The four largest states by registration in 2007 were Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New York together representing more than 60 percent of all snowmobile owners. The provinces of Ontario and Quebec accounted for 66 percent of registrations in Canada. Based on the surveys of ISMA, a composite picture of a snowmobiler shows a married person aged 41, the couple having a child living at home. The owner has an income of $70,000 a year and spends $4,000 on snowmobile-related recreation, including travel to and from snowmobiling areas, overnight stays, and other expenses beyond equipment, clothing, and fuel. Those over age sixty represent 17 percent of snowmobilers; half are over fifty.

ADJACENT MARKETS

Snowmobiling immediately suggests three important adjacent markets: (1) trailer sales for moving the sleds to recreation areas, (2) sales of parts, clothing, and accessories, and (3) tourism in winter recreational areas. ISMA reports that 65 percent of snowmobilers own trailers on which they transport their snowmobiles from their residences to regions where they uses them. Users underway, according to ISMA, spend on average 7.2 nights in hotels and motels. Parts, clothing, and accessories represent significant portions of the sales of snowmobile producers; in 2007 Arctic Cat earned 13 percent of its revenues from this category, Polaris 16 percent.

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

The competition between two- and four-stroke engines in part sets the stage for developmental efforts in the snowmobile industry. Producers are focused on delivering cleaner and quieter vehicles, aims that can be achieved by replacing two-stroke by four-stroke engines. The latter burn more of the fuel in the piston, are inherently quieter, and also deliver better fuel efficiency, another goal of the industry. The downside is the higher original cost of four-stroke engines and higher maintenance costs. Work on improving two-stroke engines by semi-direct injection of oil, thus avoiding the need to mix oil and gasoline, is proceeding with the aim of improving this technology, which first emerged in the early 2000s, without increasing engine prices in the process. Work on improved carburetion and electronic ignition systems is aimed at improving fuel efficiency in an era of upward spiraling fuel costs. Work to produce better mufflers and to improve noise-absorption under the hood is aimed at reducing the roar of engines in the pristine snow-covered countryside, albeit noise itself is pleasing to those engaged in the sportier racing venues of this activity.

CURRENT TRENDS

If one compares two periods in this industry one to the other, thus the period 1987–1989 to 2005–2007, the most striking trend is the massive rise of all-terrain vehicles. Between these two periods, ATVs have become the dominant product of snowmobile producers, the snow-sleds representing quite small or the smaller segment of their total markets in the second period. Another hard-to-ignore trend has been the steeply rising cost of snowmobiles measured in constant dollars. Trends in unit sales between these two periods have been close to flat, rising slightly but, in the latter period, trending down. The patterns, taken in combination and viewed in the context of a still-disputed but very likely global warming phenomenon, suggest that snowmobiling is becoming the activity of a reasonably affluent group of people whereas ATVs are becoming the principal recreational vehicles of the broader public. ATVs were just emerging in the 1980s. Most were still three-wheeled vehicles although Honda, leading the fray, had introduced the more stable four-wheeler which is standard at the end of the first decade of the 2000s. With declining snowfall and warmer winters, these vehicles lend themselves well to utility functions in winter as in other seasons.

Because snowmobiles delivery very high speeds and often run on rough terrain, they present real dangers to poorly trained and reckless participants and bystanders—the more so if operators are intoxicated. Elements of the public are opposed to snowmobiles which they view as noisy and polluting vehicles in a natural environment. An old and continuing trend in the industry is aggressive action, well-organized training courses, and constant vigilance by the industry, its associations, and its organizations to minimize these negatives in order to prevent injury and to avoid government restrictions of the sport.

TARGET MARKETS & SEGMENTATION

The snowmobile market divides clearly into a recreational and a utility market, thus into play and work. Although work sleds may be used for recreation and sports sleds for the occasional job in the field, 80 percent of sleds are used in recreation and 20 percent in transport or other utility work. Within the recreational area the market segment are those enumerated above, thus vehicles produced for trail riding, free terrain snowmobiling, high performance including racing, and special uses such as mountain and deep snow riding. The last two and the utility category overlap.

In a pattern very similar to the automobile business, producers realize their highest margins on high-end luxury and performance sleds. Their marketing emphasis, therefore, is to sell as many of these as possible. The principal buyer of snowmobiles is the male of the household. Marketing messages therefore appeal to power, performance, and achievement. Producers know that capturing customers while still young is the best way to ensure future customers for the expensive models, with the consequence that beginners' sleds are priced very attractively to entice participation by the younger generation.

RELATED ASSOCIATIONS & ORGANIZATIONS

American Council of Snowmobile Associations, http: //www.snowmobilers.org

American Trails, http://www.americantrails.org

Antique Snowmobile Club of America, http://www.ascoa.org

Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations, http://www.ccso-ccom.ca

International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, http://www.snowmobile.org/index.asp

National Snowmobile Racing Association, http://www.nsraracing.org/home.htm

BIBLIOGRAPHY

"Bombardier Family Buying Recreational Products Division from Bombardier Inc." Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News. 4 December 2003. Available from 〈http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2003/08/27/bombardier_030827.html〉.

"Entry Information: Divisions." National Snowmobile Racing Association. Available from 〈http://www.nsraracing.org/Entry%20Information.htm〉.

"Historical Monthly & Seasonal Snowfall Maps." National Climatic Data Center. Available from 〈http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/snow/historical.html〉.

"Houghton County Annual Snowfall Records from 1890–2007." Michgan Tech. Available from 〈http://www.admin.mtu.edu/alumni/snowfall/#prior〉.

"Just For the Fun of It." CBC Archives, Canadian Broadcasting Company. 15 March 1962. Available from 〈http://archives.cbc.ca/400d.asp?id=1-73-362-1988&wm6=1〉.

Kaiser, Dale and E.L. Soderstrom. "Trends in United States snowfall: 1948–2005." Oak Ridge National Laboratory. 16 January 2007.

Lazich, Robert S. Market Share Reporter 2007. Thomson Gale, 2007.

"Paving the Road to Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA." Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA. Available from 〈http://www.yamaha-motor.com/sport/company/historyhome/home.aspx〉.

"What is ISMA?" International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association. Available from 〈http://www.snowmobile.org/aboutisma.asp〉.

see also Boats, Motorcycles

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