The UTV industry is bigger than most people realize. The use of a UTV, or utility terrain vehicle, is growing in popularity not just in the US, but around the world as well.
They are incredibly versatile vehicles, that are affordable for most people. Not only do they offer recreation opportunities for those who seek to explore trails, hills, and desserts, but they are foundational to many commercial industries for getting jobs done that larger trucks aren’t able to.
Curious to know more about the industry surrounding UTVs? Along with the UTV industry, there are lots of other interesting factors to consider.
Keep reading to learn all about the utility terrain vehicle industry.
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Most Common Uses for UTVs
Before digging into the size of the UTV industry as a whole, it helps to understand all the different ways UTVs are used. There are different types of UTVs available, each catering to different segments of the market.
In general, these can be separated into two categories; recreational and commercial.
Recreation UTV Industry
The recreational side of UTV use is in high demand. Unlike single-passenger ATVs, UTVs allow for multiple passengers to explore off-road trails. They also offer additional cargo capacity, allowing operators to carry tools, supplies, materials, or waste.
UTVs provide an adventurous way of exploring local trail systems in any season. Aside from local trails, many UTV users travel to other states, particularly in the Western United States, to explore the mountains and deserts that provide abundant off-road access.
Those who live in rural areas often find that they can handle many of their basic errands using nothing but a UTV, which helps save money on fuel costs as opposed to operating their standard vehicle all the time.
Likewise, this category would also include those who use them on their personal property for things like yard work, snow removal, maintaining food plots, and other non-commercial activities.
Commercial, Agricultural, and Military UTV Industry
On the other end of the spectrum are those using UTVs across various industries. They are commonly used for agricultural purposes, as they offer the perfect form of transportation when it comes to crossing large properties and hauling tools, or even animals, from one place to another.
Government agencies, such as the National Forest Service, also depend on the use of UTVs to navigate vast tracts of forests for research and management, as well as maintaining public service areas. And use in the military, both locally and abroad, is constantly growing as well.
How Big is the UTV Industry?
So how big is the UTV industry, given that they are used for dozens of different purposes? In 2017, the market size for both ATVs and UTVs was just over 7.5 billion dollars. By 2025, that number is expected to double.
That’s a lot of off-road vehicles out there today. It’s estimated that in 2017, just over 400,000 new UTVs were sold, with an increasing number of used sales as well.
UTVs range in price from around $3,000 on the low end up to $25,000 for the latest, high-end models.
UTV Industry Factors
So what is driving the UTV industry from year to year? On the recreational side, more and more people are wanting to engage in adventurous outdoor activities.
People are turning to hiking, mountain biking, and of course, off-roading, in huge numbers. With an increased demand for off-road trails, many cities around the country and working to build and expand local trail systems to cater to the demand.
Many small towns in rural communities often act as UTV hubs, attracting people from all over the state. In these communities, UTV tourism is a major economic factor. The relative affordability of these vehicles also entices many new UTV owners.
However, there are plenty of limiting factors as well. In many areas, wilderness areas continue to ban the use of off-road vehicles as a means of preserving the local habitat and wildlife. The long-term cost of ownership and maintenance also becomes an issue that can hinder growth.
On the commercial side, military demand for UTVs continues to rise. This makes up a huge segment of the overall market.
Just recently, Polaris, an American UTV manufacturer, was awarded a seven-year contract with the US military to develop a new ultralight tactical vehicle. The contract itself is worth up to $109 million.
THis is to be expected, as Polaris has produced 11 different military vehicles in just 12 years. As the largest power sports company in the world, and a dedicated Polaris Defense team, they have the team, knowledge, and know-how to build the best vehicles out there.
Regions With the Most UTVs
Thanks to the widespread application of UTVs in agricultural and government agencies, as well as recreational opportunities, the US owns the largest market share of UTV ownership and sales.
However, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to experience the most growth in the coming years. Countries like China and India are expected to lead this wave of growth across the region.
North America and Asia currently own the majority of market share across the UTV industry.
Top-Selling UTV Brands
UTV manufacturing takes place around the globe. But since a majority of UTV use is based in North America, some of the top UTV brands are located right here in the US. This includes household names such as John Deere, Polaris, Arctic Cat, Odes, and others.
The most popular international companies building UTVs include familiar names like Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, and others.
Most American UTV companies perform most, if not all of their manufacturing and assembly right here in the US. Many source materials and parts, such as engines, from overseas. Engines, in particular, are cost-prohibitive to build in the US, and most come from China as a result.
Even the international companies have branches here in the US where assembly takes place. So there’s a good chance that no matter what UTV you drive, it’s an American-made vehicle.
You can also find quality Canadian-made UTVs. Can-Am is one of the top UTV manufacturers, with their vehicles having won many races and competitions.
Opportunities for Growth
Aside from military and recreational growth, there are some other ways we can expect to see the UTV industry grow in the coming years. Most current UTVs are powered by gas.
However, with fuel ratings similar to that of on-road vehicles, electric-powered UTVs are expected to see a massive increase. More and more people are wanting to get outdoors, but with rising gas costs, electric-powered UTVs are going to see an increase in demand.
Likewise, solar-powered utility vehicles could also become a major player, as solar power continues to become more efficient and cost-effective.
We can also expect to see more and more use of UTVs on roads. For the most part, across the country, you can’t use UTVs on public, paved roads.
UTVs aren’t designed to keep riders safe under normal road conditions, surrounded by larger vehicles. That’s why they are issued off-road specific titles upon purchase.
However, there are a few models that can be modified to become road-legal. Some states are more welcoming to road-legal UTVs than others. Still, with the growing use of UTVs across the country, we could expect to see new laws pass regarding UTV use, as well as more models produced that can be legally operated on public roads.
Why UTVs are so Useful
So why is it that the use of UTVs continues to grow across the country and the globe? There are tons of reasons.
For one, they are small, light, and compact. With off-road tires, these small vehicles can access terrain that most larger vehicles and trucks never could. They can conquer rocky hillsides and tall sand dunes, as well as traverse ice-covered lakes and deep, snowy trails.
UTVs range in size and can typically hold between two and four passengers. This is convenient for both recreational and commercial use, as it’s far more efficient than having four people each operate their own ATV.
Plus, UTVs can haul a lot of gear. They ride well, even when carrying a ton of weight. Some models will have built-in storage compartments to pack up supplies in. Others may even have a small truck bed for carrying much larger loads.
And still, other models can even tow small trailers, letting you move nearly anything you need to with a small UTV. Plus, they are highly customizable vehicles. You can outfit your UTV to serve any different purpose, from towing giant hay bales, to hunting, to off-roading on sand dunes, and everything in between.
If you have land you need to manage, loads you need to carry, or mountains you need to conquer, then a UTV is what you need.
The UTV Industry Continues to Grow
So how big is the UTV industry? We can expect it to reach between $11 and $14 billion in the next few years.
With more and more end-users looking for new ways to enjoy the great outdoors, and with rising uses in the military and across various industries, demand for UTVs will only increase each year.
Looking to get in on the action? Check out this list of our favorite UTV brands of 2021 to find the perfect off-road vehicle for you.