Industry News - November/December 2010

By Editor,

PAUL F. MEYER JOINS FAIRPLAY ELECTRIC CARSFairplay Electric Cars is proud to announce Paul F. Meyer as their Regional Director in the Southeast. Paul Meyer is located in Orlando, Florida. He joins Fairplay after an illustrious career of over 35 years in the golf car industry. Over the years he consistently posted outstanding sales and growth numbers in Florida.

“We are ecstatic to have such a seasoned and consummate professional on our team,” boasts Keith Andrews, President of Fairplay. “Paul started with EZGO as a mechanic when he was only nineteen years old and built his way up to an accomplished leadership position. His reputation is impeccable and his business practices are a perfect match for our culture here at Fairplay.”

Paul is excited about the opportunity, “I am really looking forward to working with the innovative and enthusiastic team at Fairplay. They have innovative products, are responsive to the market trends and offer excellent after-sales service, all the things I believe are critical in today’s market. For those that know me, I bring my many years of experience, insight and integrity with me. I look forward to talking to you all soon and rekindle our business relationship.”

If you are in the Florida area and would like to arrange to see or discuss Fairplay products further with Paul F. Meyer, you can email him at paulm@fairplaycars.com.

JOHN DEERE BUILDS 500,000 Gator™ Utility Vehicle (UV)John Deere Horicon Works (Wis.) announced production of the company’s 500,000th Gator utility vehicle, marking the milestone by building one of John Deere’s latest models, the XUV825i, the fastest and most powerful Gator ever manufactured in a long line of work and recreational machines.

“Reaching this milestone of building 500,000 Gators is a significant accomplishment for our company, our employees and our customers,” said Dan Hoffman, factory manager, John Deere Horicon Works. “Our full line of Gator utility vehicles serves a wide range of customers who depend on their reliability and usefulness. That’s an obligation we take quite seriously.”

The heritage of the Gator product began in 1987 when John Deere first built utility machines that preceded the Gator’s design and creation. Then in 1993, John Deere launched its highly successful Gator utility vehicle, which now has 17 different models and is sold to customers in agriculture, construction, turf care, recreation, and the military.

“We aspire to produce and sell the next 500,000 faster than the first,” said Siva Sundaresan, global director of utility vehicles. “We expect to continue our success in these products as John Deere remains committed to deliver an industry-leading portfolio of utility vehicles to customers.”

E-Z-GO INTRODUCES FREEDOM® TXT® AND SHUTTLE 2+2 TXT® VEHICLES
New models of classic TXT® vehicle offers 48-volt DC drivetrain or 13 hp Kawasaki® engine and unique customization features

E-Z-GO, a Textron Company announced the expansion of its line of personal vehicles with the introduction of the Freedom® TXT® and Shuttle 2+2 TXT®. These vehicles combine the classic styling and features of the E-Z-GO TXT platform with new power plants and technology, including the choice of models equipped with either a 48-volt DC electric drivetrain or a 13 hp gas-powered Kawasaki® engine.

The Freedom TXT seat two people and is equipped with a golf-bag rack and sweater basket for easy transition from the course to community paths. With its rear-facing second bench seat, the Shuttle 2+2 TXT seats up to four people and can be outfitted with an optional four-bag attachment for golf use.

“E-Z-GO is pleased to offer these new models in our celebrated TXT vehicle line,” said Kevin Holleran, president of E-Z-GO. “The combination of proven TXT features and new powertrain technology will make the Freedom TXT and Shuttle 2+2 TXT vehicles a popular

The Freedom TXT and Shuttle 2+2 TXT vehicles are available for purchase now from your local E-Z-GO authorized dealer. To locate your nearest dealer or to learn about the complete line of E-Z-GO light-transportation vehicles, please visit www.ezgo.com.

STEVE RHODES JOINS FAIRPLAY ELECTRIC CARSFairplay Electric Cars is proud to announce Steve Rhodes as their Western Regional Director. Steve has over 25 years of marketing and sales experience, with over 15 years in the battery industry. The last 4 years Steve was Regional Sales Manager for a major brand in the low speed electric vehicle industry.

“Steve has worked hard to develop a strong reputation in the industry,” says Keith Andrews, President of Fairplay. “We are very happy to be able to bring a person with his qualifications on board. We are confident Steve will continue to be an advocate for his dealer network, helping them to succeed and prosper with the Fairplay products in these challenging economic times.”

Steve is excited about the relationship as well, “I look forward to working with the dealers I have close relationships with, and meeting new dealers who expect and deserve excellent service from their sales representatives. To be able to offer the broad line of Fairplay electric vehicles is icing on the cake for me.”

If you are located in the western United States and would like to discuss the full lineup of Fairplay Electric Vehicles with Steve Rhodes, you can email him at stever@fairplaycars.com.

SPECIALIZED INSURANCE NEEDED FOR LOW SPEED VEHICLES – WHO KNEW? WE MOVE SLOW, BUT WE’RE AHEAD OF THINGSAs the popularity of cost-effective and eco-friendly golf car, electric car, and ATV usage is on the rise, the insurance world has yet to specialize in coverage for it, nor are consumers aware of the specific coverage they personally need. LSV Insurance, LLC, the first independent insurance agency to specifically insure all forms of golf cars and low speed vehicles (LSV) has officially opened its doors. They offer a full line of individual and commercial insurance for the LSV user, from personal auto protection to general liability and inventory coverage for dealers. With all 50 states now making low speed vehicles street legal, it is more important than ever that consumers are properly insured.

Proprietors Chad Boozer and Jerod Summer have founded LSVInsuranceLLC.com, an accessible tool for dealers and individual consumers to receive free rate quotes. The LSV Insurance, LLC team goal is to provide peace of mind for the LSV consumer. Many low speed vehicle owners do not realize their current homeowner’s and/or auto policy, even with extended liability, does not suffice and that there are additional restrictions and regulations in coastal vacation spots and resorts. To avoid these gaps, LSV Insurance, LLC provides that specialty coverage. Company president Chad Boozer adds, “We feel it is time to educate the public on the value of specified insurance for low speed vehicle drivers before it is too late, and accident or injury catches them unaware.”

As of today, LSV Insurance currently is authorized to provide insurance for such vehicles in SC, NC, and GA, and is in the process of expanding coverage, starting with FL and MI. LSV Insurance, LLC, stands behind proper training, vigilant driving and the peace of mind that comes with being fully insured in your Low Speed Vehicle.

For more information about LSV Insurance, LLC or to request a free rate quote visit www.LSVInsuranceLLC.com or visit us on facebook: www.facebook.com/LSVInsurance.

LOCAL MANUFACTURING PAYROLL SHOWS HOPE AFTER LONG SLIDE
As the U.S. economy makes its way our of a recession and Georgians face double-digit unemployment, manufacturing has been one of the hardest-hit sectors of the economy.

Manufacturing jobs have been in decline for decades while companies shipped work overseas, but the trend accelerated with the onset of the recession and waning consumer demand for manufactured goods.

“I think consumer confidence is going to have to build, people are going to have to go back to work…and get in the habit of spending discretionary money,” said Club Car CEO Gary Michel, whose company makes vehicles for golf courses, commercial businesses and personal use.

The number of manufacturing jobs in the Augusta metro area has slid sharply in the past few years, though the pace has slowed recently.

Manufacturing jobs held steady between July and August of this year and were down 4 percent, or 800 jobs, from a year ago, according to the latest work force numbers released by the Georgia Department of Labor.

That contrasts with a drop of 18 percent, or 4,200 jobs, since August 2007, according to labor date.

“Companies are more concerned about spending dollars than they ever have been primarily because they don’t want to get into a recessionary community,” said Walter Sprouse, the executive director of the Development Authority of Richmond County. “They’re looking for that stability.”

Sprouse estimated the development authority is working on 23 projects and said about half are in manufacturing. He said Augusta’s relatively stable economy compared with the rest of the country is a selling point when recruiting companies.

Nationally, the unemployment rate in manufacturing stood at 9.5 percent in August, an improvement from 11.8 percent the previous year.

“The year started off well for us, but we have seen a softening of economic conditions over the summer. That’s in line with what we’re really seeing in the greater economy nationwide,” said Brandon Haddock, the marketing communications manager for E-Z-GO, which makes vehicles for golf, commercial and industrial uses. “If consumers are wary and if consumers are afraid of economic conditions, that slows manufacturing.”

The company recently launched a new street-legal electric vehicle called the 2Five. Haddock said the product has done well considering the economic environment.

Michel said this year has been one of growth for Club Car and results have “certainly” been better than the past couple of years. “What has driven a lot of the growth in golf is pent-up demand and people needing to make the fleet changes that they put off for 18 to 24 months,” he said.

New products such as low-speed electric vehicles and innovations in the golf sector have helped drive Club Car’s results, Michel said. “It’s what we did when times weren’t good that are starting to pay the results for us,” he said.

And there are some other bright spots in the local picture.

John Deere, which makes small tractors at its Grovetown plant, recently announced a record third quarter and almost doubled its estimate for yearly earnings to about $1.78 billion.

Company spokesman Ken Golden said in an email that sales of utility tractors – the product category Grovetown’s plant falls into – were up 3 percent in July in the U.S. and Canada. Overall John Deere’s sales of utility tractors were up double digits.

Haddock said E-Z-GO is still filling positions – some new and some that have become vacant – mainly in areas such as marketing, sales or administrative functions. “We are working to position ourselves for continued economic recovery and are cautiously optimistic about the prospects for gradual recovery,” Haddock said. “We hope to see the economy regain the momentum that it had at the beginning of the year. We are certainly not immune to greater economic conditions. When consumer confidence returns and unemployment lowers, we certainly expect to see better growth.”

ABS OFFERS MORE THAN JUST GOLF CARS
There’s more to a golf cart than meets the eye. They can be customized for almost any purpose. Just ask Lou and Allen Warren, who own ABS Golf Cars in Noble, they’ll fix you right up.

The Warrens have owned ABS Golf Cars located at 317 S. Main in Noble since 1995. Allen Warren started out as a golf course mechanic and worked at Westwood Golf Course for 19 years. He’d work on friends’ golf carts on his lunch hour and after work. Finally, he decided to open his own business. Now the Warrens are the largest E-Z-GO golf cart dealer in the state of Oklahoma.

“We specialize in customization and we have customers from everywhere,” Lou Warren said. “From Kansas, Texas and Missouri. So, it’s not just a local thing. We are definitely here for local farmers and ranchers, but word got out there and we have lake property owners too. The carts are not just for golf.”

Lou Warren went on to describe some of the ways they’ve customized carts over the years.

They’ve manufactured a custom set-up on a cart for a racecar driver who uses it to tow his racecar from the strip to the pits. ABS decked it out with toolboxes, back seats and tow bars specific to racing.

Other folks have special-ordered their carts with flip-down TVs, satellite radio and stereo systems. Some even have GPS systems that are specific to the game of golf—these systems calculate the distance to the next hole and map the course for the golfer.

“We’ve done installations with TVs, iPods, stereos, extra heavy suspensions for farming, hand controls for special needs — we just try to make them unique for each situation. We’ll add custom paint or seat covers to match an organization or business,” Lou Warren said.

The Warrens rent golf carts as well — and not just to golf courses. The carts serve as people movers at special events such as family reunions, church camps and weddings. They’ve rented to cemeteries for Memorial Day weekend, for funerals, and even to the Zoo Amphitheatre during concert season.

The work utility carts they have can be adapted for farm and ranch use or heavy duty hauling. Ranchers carry bags of feed, and Lou Warren tells the story of a man who loaded his portable welder on one and pulled it around while fixing his fence.

“Golf carts can be used for everything from trash to hospitality, to VIPs,” Lou Warren said.

Golf carts can be rented on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Pricing depends on the type of cart rented and the duration of the rental. ABS has special carts set aside for wedding rentals.

Lou Warren takes pride in the many ways that she and her husband have found to customize golf carts. “If someone has a need, they can call us,” Lou Warren said.

ABS Golf Cars is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

CURTIS INTRODUCES NEW PathPro SOFT CAB FOR YAMAHA RHINO AND POLARIS RANGER
Curtis Industries, LLC has added to its line of quality enclosures, the new PathPro soft cab system for the Yamaha Rhino and Polaris Ranger that easily mounts to the factory installed Operator Protection System (OPS). This PathPro enclosure, keeps you and your passenger out of the elements, for a fraction of the cost.

Using an extremely lightweight design, the new PathPro cab systems are easy to install and can be used in varying weather conditions. The cab is manufactured from durable heavy duty marine grade, UV resistant PVC coated 40 oz. nylon for improved cold weather performance. The cab features zip-out removable doors and zip-open side and rear windows that can be rolled up and secured for a truly “open-air” ride.

Large zipper pull tabs on the doors and rear panel are easily accessible from inside and outside to transform your vehicle in any given weather or climate a quick and simple process; eliminating the need to get outside in more inclement conditions.

The acrylic windshield not only offers protection from the elements but has exceptional visibility in all directions, making for an even safer ride. Aluminum reinforcements add additional roof support and improve the cab’s overall strength. The new value-priced premium quality PathPro soft cab comes as a complete package including roof, doors, rear window, and windshield. You can enclose your cab within two hours, with no drilling or permanent modifications.

Curtis Industries, LLC is the leading manufacturer of cabs, enclosures and accessories for compact tractors, golf cars, and utility vehicles. For more information on Curtis products please visit www.curtisindustries.net.

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