TS (MarApr07) - Modified/ATV Type Cars

By: Matt Vallez

In the golf car industry, an ongoing trend is to modify used golf cars to be all they can be, and more, and then sell them for prices more comparable to a new golf car than used. These highly modified golf cars are altered to the point that they are more like an ATV than a golf car in all but one way. Lift kits, larger tires, brush guards, high speed or high torque motors, roll cages and cargo boxes are just a few of the things that are added to these cars. This is what the public wants; leave it to the aftermarket to provide it. There has been a number of small fab shops started just to meet the demands of the dealers doing this work. The OEM manufacturers have responded to the situation, with offerings like the E-Z-GO ST line or Club Car’s XRT and Pioneer line, but the situation continues to change.


There are a number of OEM vehicles that have tried to hit the mark. Consumer demand for the highly modified golf car / ATV type vehicle continues to be strong demanding ever faster and more versatile vehicles. There is the ST, and the XRT; both are modified versions of a standard golf car. Both are mostly a golf car with a lifted and modified suspension, slightly more powerful and better accessorized. These are popular with most consumers, but trends are changing and the consumer demand is driving these changes. There are certain consumers that need more, better suspension more power and automotive like safety features. These consumers now have a few new vehicles to choose from that are more like an ATV than a golf car.


The Rhino made by Yamaha and the Ranger made by Polaris, were created and marketed as side by side ATVs. The main difference is in the power; these vehicles have 660cc engines. These engines are more like that of a motorcycle than a golf car. The Club Car XRT 1550 SE, Club Cars most similar vehicle, offers a 675cc engine. But it is an industrial grade engine that produces only 23 horse power at 3600rpm. The Polaris Ranger’s engine with 683cc produces 40 horse power, the rpm speck was not available. This is what makes this new half breed of ATV and golf car fun. They are comfortable, easy to get in and out of, and they are fast with top speeds of 50 miles per hour. That is what most people want, top speed and power. The engines in the Rhino and the Ranger are delivering just that, and with the golf car type body style. The big OEM golf car manufacturers need to be looking at the success of these vehicles. Is this a cross over market segment they can afford to ignore?


The OEM golf car manufactures have done a good job transforming the fleet golf car into a more muscular and capable version.  Both Club Car and E-Z-GO have modified the suspension, brakes and safety features such as roll cages. These golf cars even have 4 wheel drive capability and can carry or pull larger payloads than the standard golf car. The difference between a Rhino or Ranger and the best that Club Car or E-Z-GO have to offer is mostly top speed. Are the golf car builders interested in competing with golf car type vehicles that will go 50 miles per hour? Or, can the aftermarket take what the OEM golf car manufacturers are building and modify it to compete with the Rhino and Ranger. The amount of modification necessary to a standard fleet golf car to safely reach speeds of 50 miles per hour is extreme.

Industry News - March/April 2007


AUGUSTA, GA. – E-Z-GO, a Textron Inc. company a leading manufacturer of golf cars and utility vehicles, introduced “Innovative Designs by E-Z-GO,” a customization division created to produce vehicles that meet unique needs and precise specifications.


Innovative Designs by E-Z-GO can accessorize the full range of E-Z-GO vehicles, including TXT fleet golf cars MPT turf maintenance vehicles, ST trail utility vehicles and Shuttle personnel carriers. Among the vehicles and options Innovative Designs by E-Z-GO can produce are ambulances, snow plows, spreaders, built-in toolboxes, welding fixtures and electrical system upgrades. The new division is staffed by experts in design, fabrication, welding, bending, tool and die and more. In-house capabilities include Computer Aided Design, laser cutting and Computer Numerical Design (CNC) machine programming.


The addition of this division, based in the company’s Augusta, GA., headquarters, strengthens E-Z-GO’s position as the category leader in customer support and service while building on its tradition of engineering prowess. Recently, E-Z-GO opened the golf car industry’s first factory direct showroom in The Villages, Florida. Via the showroom, customers can purchase E-Z-GO golf cars and specialty vehicles and have them customized onsite before delivery.


Allen Evans will oversee operations of Innovative Designs by E-Z-GO as Manager of Custom Vehicle Applications. A veteran of the golf car, utility vehicle and power sports industries, he is widely regarded as one of the true innovators and brightest minds in the realm of vehicle-specific customization.


“I’m delighted with the opportunity to lead Innovative Designs by E-Z-GO, which delivers a new level of customer service and product enhancement,” Evans says. “We are here to provide the customer whatever is needed to do the job, no matter the vehicle, application or demands of their particular situation.”


“Allen is a true professional and innovator and we are thrilled that he’s on board to head up this exciting new program,” says E-Z-GO President John L. Garrison. “Innovative Designs by E-Z-GO promises customers’ superior performance, quality, safety and specialization to meet their unique requirements or tastes. We believe it will add great value to the outstanding products and services that make E-Z-GO and industry leader.”



AUGUSTA, GA. – Demonstrating its support of the game on a global scale, Club Car has extended relationships that ensure its golf cars and utility vehicles will continue to play important roles at The Ryder Cup and on the PGA European Tour.


Club Car, a business of Ingersoll-Rand Company Limited, a diversified industrial firm, has entered into a new agreement with Ryder Cup Europe LLP to remain the Official Supplier of Golf Cars and Utility Vehicles to the 2010 Ryder Cup matches at Celtic Manor in Wales. Club Car also will continue as the Official Golf Car and Golf Utility Vehicle and an Official Sponsor of the PGA European Tour. 


“We’re delighted to continue our commitment to The Ryder Cup and the European Tour,” said Phil Tralies, president and CEO of Club Car. “Our association with these organizations provides a highly visible and prestigious platform for Club Car to showcase a wide range of products, build relationships and enhance the brand around the world.”


Club Car has been associated with The Ryder Cup and the PGA European Tour since 1999.


“Club Car’s support of The Ryder Cup has been very important in the operational success of the matches in recent years,” said Richard Hills, The European Tour’s Ryder Cup director. “Beyond quality products, its commitment to service and satisfaction has been all we could have asked.”

George O’Grady, chief executive of The European Tour, added, “We are delighted to have the ongoing support of Club Car people alongside the reliability of its products.”


Club Car is also the exclusive premier partner of the National Golf Course Owners Association, and a sponsor of the European Golf Course Owners Association. Club Car is the official supplier of golf cars and utility vehicles to PGA Tournament Players Clubs, and a sponsor of the PGA Professional National Championship, The First Tee and the Executive Women’s Golf Association.



SANTA FE SPRINGS, CA. – Trojan Battery Company has introduced Plus Series™, an innovative addition to their deep-cycle battery line-up, featuring new designs that address user needs for easier maintenance and longevity in the Golf market.


“Properly maintaining your battery means achieving maximum performance and long life that you expect,” said Christine Johnson, senior marketing manager. “We designed the Plus Series so it’s easier for our users to maintain properly for maximum performance and long life that they can depend on.”


The Plus Series features three new components: 1) SureVent™ flip-top vent cap system; 2) “max-level” water level indicators in the vent filling wells; and 3) die-cast embedded terminals.


The patent-pending SureVent flip-top vent cap system makes opening and closing the vents easy. Unlike the common screw-top caps used by most companies, SureVent caps flip open and stay attached to the battery cover, preventing users from misplacing or getting dirt on the caps during watering.


Because proper watering helps maximize battery life, Trojan designed the “max-level” water indicator, a built-in “lip” within each vent well. This visible indicator allows precise watering and helps prevent over-watering. 


The terminal for the Plus Series is embedded in the hard plastic cover. Die-cast embedded terminals withstand the heat and stress of the most demanding applications better and eliminate terminal breakage.


“We feel that the Plus Series is another example of Trojan’s commitment to providing market-leading innovation and solutions to the deep cycle markets that we serve,” said Dave Godber, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “We spend a lot of time listening to the users of our products and we are excited that this product line addresses many of their needs and concerns.”


The Plus Series batteries are available through Trojan’s Master Distributor Network in the following sizes: T-105 Plus, T-125 Plus, and T-145 Plus types. Trojan’s proprietary Maxguard® Advanced Design Separator and exclusive AlphaPlus® paste formulation are still included.



Michael Tomberlin, CEO of the Tomberlin Group recently announced an agreement reached with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Shanghai) Co., Lid. For Tomberlin to become the exclusive provider for the USA of off-road vehicles and small engine equipment utilizing Mitsubishi Powerplants.


Mitsubishi has been a leading manufacturer of engines for almost a hundred years and is well recognized as a world leader in quality and durability, committed to manufacturing very efficient and compliant powerplants as it relates to emission standards. Tomberlin is the leading designer and manufacturer of go-karts in North America with sales at a record high last year.


Michael Tomberlin stated, “We are pleased to offer the quality of Mitsubishi in our off-road vehicles as we seek to provide the American consumer the best value in the industry. The association with Mitsubishi fits well with our long term strategy of product development, they are quality people.”



ANAHEIM, CA. – SoloRider, which is helping seniors and players with disabilities get back in the game through the use of its innovative single-rider golf cars, was presented the 2006 Excellence in Achievement Award – New product of the Year by the Association of Private Clubs and Directors. The company was recognized at the 80th Annual World Conference on Club Management, which was held here in conjunction with the Golf Industry Show.


“The SoloRider single-rider golf car is an excellent example of technological innovation intersecting with the desire of disabled players to enjoy golf and get in the game,” said John Fornaro, editor and publisher of The Boardroom magazine, the official publication of the Association of Private Clubs and Directors. “It’s also proven to be an effective way to grow the game and bring incremental revenue to clubs.”


The SoloRider golf car gives disabled players full access to the golf course through a number of design and engineering innovations. Its precise weight distribution makes the car safe to go on tees and greens without damaging turf. SoloRider’s swing-arm suspension allows each wheel to move in response to the terrain, improving control and comfort for the driver. An electronic seat that lifts and turns nearly 360 degrees helps golfers with limited mobility play their shots from the comfort and safety of the car.

CS (MarApr07) - Club Car Carryall 295


Club Car’s Carryall 295 with IntelliTach™ is the Swiss Army knife of utility vehicles. The versatile 4×4 with the revolutionary IntelliTach quick-change hydraulic tool attachment system makes it easy to add a broom, set of forks, bucket, mower or blade. The exclusive IntelliTrak™ 4-wheel-drive system automatically senses driving conditions and provides power when it’s needed, without the driver having to push any buttons or pull any levers. An easy-to-operate joystick brings added precision when maneuvering in tight spaces.

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