INTIMIDATOR READY TO SATISFY DEMAND FOR SIDE-BY-SIDE UTILITY VEHICLES
Apr. 13, 2015
Source: Rural Lifestyle Dealer article by Lynn Marcinkowski Woolf
Intimidator is setting up partnerships and adding dealers at a time when the utility vehicle segment is one of the top movers in the industry. Intimidator, based in Batesville, Ark., manufactures the Intimidator side-by-side vehicle (SxS) as well as Bad Dawg accessories and the GroundHog Max UTV disc plow.
"We're a small, family-owned company that had been servicing 50 dealers and basically been shipping machines for about 1 1/2 years. We are running on 'all systems go' to fulfill our obligation with Mahindra and our own dealer network," says Matt Foster, Intimidator's marketing/project manager. To support the partnership and expected growth, Intimidator is adding 7,600 square feet to its existing 122,000-square foot facility currently, with more development planned.
According to Rural Lifestyle Dealer's 2015 Business Trends & Outlook Report, about 40% of dealers who carry UTVs expect growth of 2-8% and 30% of responding dealers expect to add the product line this year. (Read the report in our winter issue.)
Some might say the market is becoming saturated, especially with Exmark, Toro, Gravely and Hustler announcing UTV lines in recent months. "We've been there before in the ZTR market. Everyone said the market was too saturated to be successful. We still have some proving to do, but it's not a brand new territory for us to be in a market that has a lot of competition," Foster says. He is referring to the company's beginnings. His brother Robert Foster started Bad Boy Mowers in 1997. The company started the Intimidator project in 2010 and split off to form Intimidator as a separate company in 2013.
Foster says, "We're continuing to grow what we had started. We wanted to bring the same type of product to the market as what made Bad Boy successful. Our roots are in a better built machine that has longer lasting components. It really boils down to a machine that will last longer and be more productive."
Partnering to Expand
Intimidator received a major boost recently with its new partnership with Mahindra. Intimidator will manufacture a UTV line for Mahindra called the mPACT XTV that will begin roll out with six models available through Mahindra's dealer network this spring.
Cleo Franklin, vice president of marketing, product development and strategic planning for Mahindra USA, recently told Rural Lifestyle Dealer, "The decision to enter the utility vehicle segment is an extension and a complement to our core business. The UTV market continues to expand at a double-digit rate. With this partnership, we see a great opportunity with our growing tractor base of customers."
Building It Better
Foster says the vehicle's durability features help set it apart from the competition. "We oversized a lot of components and put automotive style components in the machine. We wanted to build a machine that will withstand the punishment that today's consumers will put it through. What it means to the end customer is less problems, less maintenance, less failure and an easier machine to own than the competitors," Foster says. The vehicles come in 3 models, all four wheel drive:
• Classic - 3-passenger seating; cargo bed with 1,200 pound capacity; 750cc Kohler gas, 48 volt brushless electric or 1000cc Kohler diesel engine options; towing capacity of 2,100 pounds; and speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.
• Crew Cab - Seating for up to 6 passengers; cargo bed with 1,000 pound capacity; 750cc Kohler gas or 1000cc Kohler diesel engine options; towing capacity of 2,100 pounds, and speeds up to 35 miles per hour.
• Truck - 3-passenger seating; 6-foot aluminum truck bed with built-in tool boxes (1,200 pound capacity); 750cc Kohler gas or 1000cc Kohler diesel engine options; towing capacity of 2,100 pounds; and speeds up to 33 miles per hour.
The Mahindra branded models are based on these three models, will be red and have tire, wheel and other upgrades. Foster says some of the Bad Dawg accessories may also be branded for Mahindra.
Currently, Bad Dawg accessories are sold through Intimidator's dealer network as well at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's. GroundHog Max plows are sold through Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, Sportsman's Guide, Tractor Supply, Lowe's and Wal-Mart Canada.
Building Dealer Network
He says they have more than 100 requests in from dealers who would like to take on the line. The network is now concentrated in the South and Southeast, near the company's headquarters in Arkansas, and Foster says they are expanding in the North and Northeast, and will be aggressively adding new dealers by mid-year. He says they are looking forward to expanding through the Mahindra network and doesn't expect conflicts with their own dealers. "At the end of the day, we're offering a machine at a different price point and different offerings as far as configuration and with different branding. We are working out how we co-exist as competitors, but also partners," Foster says.