Jacobsen is pushing out nine new products at GIE+EXPO, spotlighting its “Professional Series” while also looking to increase its participation in consumer markets.
The Professional Series consists of three lines of zero-turn mowers and seven different models of utility task vehicles (UTV). The stars of Jacobsen’s exhibit at this week’s tradeshow in Louisville, Kentucky, were the RZT line of ride-on, zero-turn lawn mowers and the company’s heavy-duty UTV, the Truckster HD, with 32.5 horsepower on the gasoline-powered version and a payload capacity of 3,550 pounds.
Jacobsen President David Withers said this week that Jacobsen’s acquisition of Dixie Chopper in February 2014 has already contributed to improvements in both companies’ products.
“It allowed us to take some of that underlying (Dixie Chopper) DNA and apply it to Jacobsen products,” including the company’s mowers with 50-, 60- and 72-inch decks.
Withers said he’s confident neither Jacobsen nor Dixie Chopper will cannibalize the other’s success, despite the effort to capitalize on the best engineering technologies of both companies.
“I would argue there are not two more different brands than Jacobsen and Dixie Chopper,” he said.
The acquisition was fueled by Jacobsen’s realization a few years ago that the sports-turf market was peaking, Withers said.
“There simply weren’t enough women and minorities (taking up golf) to support” steady growth of the sports-turf market, he said, so Jacobsen “started looking for where that growth was going to come from.”
The company continues to focus on the professional landscaping market, particularly municipal governments’ grounds crews. In working with local governments, Withers said, the company received extremely positive feedback on its products, but “they also told us our offerings weren’t broad enough.”
That was a key reason for Jacobsen’s collaboration with its parent company, Textron, in bringing a wider variety of UTVs to market.
The result is that “not every dealer wants all of our products today – some want the zero-turn mowers, others want the utility vehicles – and we’re fine with that,” Withers said. He noted that all Jacobsen products are made in America.