A focus on safety has seen farmers flock towards side-by-side vehicles, leaving local suppliers trying to keep up with demand as the vehicles fly out the door.
Suppliers have seen a shift in recent months towards the side-by-side vehicles, with safety features and a government rebate encouraging many to make the move from quad bikes.
Haeusler’s Shepparton grounds care manager Mathew Cucinotta said there had been such high demand for the John Deere Gator vehicles carried by the store, that they’d completely sold out until August, with safety at the forefront of most of his customers’ minds.
‘‘The WorkSafe inspectors in the region have gone out there and got their message across that it’s safer to ride a side-by-side than a quad bike,’’ Mr Cucinotta said.
‘‘It’s about $2500 (difference in cost) or someone’s life. It’s not really hard to sell them.’’
Mr Cucinotta said he estimated in the Shepparton store alone they’d sold a dozen vehicles, yet were playing a waiting game as they wait for more stock to arrive.
As more farmers upgrade their vehicles, Shepparton’s Richard Renato Polaris services and parts manager Jason Kapperer said the trend towards side-by-sides had seen sales of other vehicles easily surpassed.
‘‘We’re probably selling double the amount of side-by-sides compared to your standard ATV vehicles — a lot of it’s safety focused,’’ Mr Kapperer said.
‘‘Your standard ATV vehicles have pretty much died now.’’
With individuals who are eligible for the quad bike rebate able to claim up to $1200 when they purchase a side-by-side vehicle or a small utility vehicle, Mr Kapperer said it was making the decision to upgrade a bit easier.
‘‘It’s a bit more enticing for them. They can get something with more safety features for a bit extra and then they get some of that money back.’’
Shepparton’s AJ’s Motorcycles sales manager Brendan Crouch said the rebate had definitely been a big incentive for customers.
‘‘The rebate is probably the biggest reason for the increase in sales,’’ Mr Crouch said.
‘‘Guys are after protection for their vehicles and they get that with side-by-sides ... when they’re looking to upgrade it’s the side-by-side they go for.’’