OPEI to help UTV dealers capitalize on vehicles’ sales growth

John Deere introduced its XUV 825i Special Edition at last year’s GIE+EXPO. Photo: John DeereJohn Deere introduced its XUV 825i Special Edition at last year’s GIE+EXPO.
Photo: John Deere

In recent years, utility task vehicles, or UTVs, have become increasingly common sights on landscaping jobs. Now the industry is coming together to help dealers make the most of the vehicles’ growing popularity.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), whose members include several UTV makers, announced this week it will play host to a “UTV University” at GIE+EXPO 2016. The tradeshow will be co-located again this year with Hardscape North America. OPEI is the majority partner in the show, which is scheduled for Oct. 19-21 in Louisville, Kentucky.

OPEI’s president and CEO, Kris Kiser, said the addition of training sessions for UTV dealers at the green industry’s largest tradeshow is a sign the market for the vehicles is coming of age.

According to OPEI, more than 400,000 UTVs were sold in North America in 2015, and manufacturers of the vehicles expect sales to keep rising this year.

The education programs for dealers will give special attention to UTV accessories. On average, people who buy UTVs will spend more than $1,700 each on accessories.

“Nearly two out of three UTV buyers accessorize their units, and one in three buys the UTV with accessories pre-installed,” Kiser said, “so there is profit to be made by showcasing and upselling accessories with the sale of UTVs.

“Even better for UTV dealers,” he adds, “40 percent of UTV buyers purchase their accessories from UTV dealers.”

As the trade association representing UTV makers such as John Deere, Toro, Kawasaki and Yamaha, OPEI’s decision to promote dealer education at the huge green industry tradeshow just makes sense, Kiser said.

The UTV education sessions will be held the first day of the show, Oct. 19, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. The program will have a trade focus.

“GIE+EXPO has grown significantly, and is the largest home to showcase the utility products,” said Kiser. “In fact, we’re anticipating our largest show ever in 2016, which is coming off the heels of last year’s record-breaking attendance.”

More than 21,000 people attended last year’s show.

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