Big changes are coming to Arctic Cat in the wake of the company’s purchase by Textron, which was finalized earlier this month. Well-placed rumors say that the changes are starting to be reflected at Arctic Cat’s new Minneapolis-based office building, as some top C-level executives from Arctic Cat are being phased out as Textron prepares to run Arctic Cat as a subsidiary — meaning dual CEOs, CFOs, etc. are not needed.
Rumors (and common sense, at some level) also say that changes may be coming to Arctic Cat Off-Road/ATV/UTV division, as Textron figures out how it wants to fold it together with its Georgia-based Textron Off-Road brand — which earlier this month became the new name for vehicles that used to be marketed under the Bad Boy Off-Road brand.
Less-dramatic changes are expected within the snowmobile division, where Textron doesn’t have a previous presence and existing Arctic Cat officials have unique levels of expertise.
In an exclusive interview, Liz Keener from Snow Goer‘s sister publication Powersports Business — an industry-insider based publication aimed at covering the powersports market from a dealer’s perspective — Textron VP John Collins provides some insight into the process of folding Arctic Cat into Textron. For the full article, click here. Most of the article is related to the ATV/Off-Road segment, but Collin’s quotes below provide a view as to Textron’s mindset, and the respect the company has for Arctic Cat’s following in the snowmobile market in particular.
“One of the things that we certainly love about Arctic Cat is their fiercely independent spirit. They’ve got such a passion around the brand and the products, and those consumers … they just bleed green, and we do not want to lose any of that. That’s something that we’re very committed to holding on to,” Collins said in the arcticle. “Really the closest brand that I can really point at that has a similar cult following would be Harley guys; there are some guys for who it’s going to be a Harley, and I think Arctic Cat very much has built that same level of loyalty with a lot of their customers. So I think our financial backing, our combined manufacturing expertise and engineering prowess will come together for a very good marriage.”
He added, “We love the Arctic Cat brand. We’ve still got some work to understand what happens to Textron Off Road, what happens to the branding on their dirt products, what happens to snow. Certainly Arctic Cat will always be the snow brand, and we just have to figure out what the overlay is with Textron Off Road products, the Arctic Cat products and the snow products. We plan to continue a very consistent, very aggressive level of investing into Arctic Cat, into the combined brands, the combined products and really bring a value proposition to dealers that we weren’t able to do alone, so it just really makes a lot of sense when you just sit back and think about these two companies coming together.”