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6 Thoughts Surrounding Arctic Cat Not Showing Up

I’ve received a few emails, seen a few comments here, and have seen the question posed on other Arctic Cat sites, “How come no Arctic Cat display at XYZ Snowmobile Show I attended this weekend?”

I can understand that disappointment, and have experienced the same feelings at large auto shows like SEMA when a brand I want to see isn’t present. Sitting in my marketing armchair quarterback position, I have a few thoughts on the topic, and personally don’t see a need for panic.

I think it’s important to remember, when you have a marketing budget that needs to be focused, it’s a fine line of choosing to spend those dollars on promoting sales, or promoting the brand. And for the most part, I don’t think Arctic Cat is too out of line with their choices. Right, Wrong or Indifferent, here’s my thoughts:

Arctic Cat Event Page on Facebook


1. Arctic Cat was pretty clear they were only going to attend a few 2019 fall shows early on, which they promoted on the Arctic Cat website and Events tabs of their social media pages. (Haydays, New Hampshire and Toronto) Chime in if I missed one. Maybe this is a reminder we should follow Arctic Cat’s website and social more closely? I know I should.


2. In relation to #1, it makes sense to me AC would only choose to visit a few fall events given they moved to a Spring Only buy program (Snowmageddon). Should AC spend those marketing dollars purchasing high dollar display space and then building, housing, transporting, setting up and displaying models (2020’s) their consumers technically can’t walk into any dealer to purchase after the show?


AC at Toronto Show


3. On the flip side, you could argue AC should be at as many fall shows as possible given they just launched their 2021 models and Snowmageddon. I would completely agree with that argument, but I’m pretty confident one of the major hurdles with displaying 2021 units has to do with timing.  It would be very difficult for AC to build all those units and get updated parts from vendors that early.


(L-R) Randy, Pat and Kale demo riding the new RIOT last Spring at Thomas Sno Sports


4. Since we are on the topic of 2021 models, it’s my selfish hope AC puts together some type of demo tour sometime between Snow and April when Snowmaggedon ends. I’m confident demo rides sell snowmobiles. That said, a demo tour is seriously expensive, but maybe AC will have 2021 models you can ride at your dealership? It worked for the RIOT last year.  How far would you travel to ride a 2021? Me, probably 2hrs and I’d make it a road trip with family or riding buddies.


Visit Your Local Dealer


5. In relation to #3 and #4, AC is pushing consumers to their dealers now to get information on 2021 models. I think that’s great and I encourage everyone reading this to establish a relationship with a dealer. Go visit them!


6. Conference Center Shows – I like shows, but not as much as I liked them in 1993. A few of these shows still operate like its 1993. I feel like the conference center show model is near death and maybe we can blame the internet and its easy access to new model information, brochures, videos and overnight shipping? We didn’t have that option in 1993. I think if we’re honest with ourselves, most of us don’t attend one of these shows with the intent of buying a snowmobile. Most of us are looking for a bargain score on a clearanced coat, helmet or fleece thong. (Preferably not used).

RU Outside Fleece Thong - A wardrobe staple since 1993 



  1. I attended the Novi show this weekend and was disappointed Cat was a no show. Yamaha was also a no show. Argo had a nice display. I feel these shows are loosing there luster due consumers buying off the internet and getting better deals.

  2. I read through this several times to make sure I was catching all of the specific information for Arctic Cat not attending every low level exhibit opportunity throughout the snowbelt and here is what I got; Because of the actions that may or may not have occurred during 1993 event schedule locations, there is a large collection of fleece panties that may or may not have been worn at one time and based on the current 2020 offerings from Arctic Cat, some of those used examples could be soiled. If you’d like to continue the conversation, hit me up on MySpace.

  3. “it’s my selfish hope AC puts together some type of demo tour sometime between Snow and April when Snowmaggedon ends. I’m confident demo rides sell snowmobiles.”

    I could not agree with this more, get them out there so people can ride them. At the cost of these things to ride them 2-3 months a year, I would much rather have the opportunity to demo ride it on the trail versus sit on it at a show!! I have personally seen sleds purchased because of a demo ride experience, that never would had happened if they didn’t have the opportunity to experience that through a demo ride.

    Also, although I imagine it is a lot more costly to travel to locations and put on rides, this is a lot better than a dealer having one you can demo. It seems the dealers “buddy’s” always have these units out riding them so Joe consumer doesn’t get the opportunity as easily. Save the show money to get these units out there in as many locations as possible to be ridden. And use this as an opportunity to collect feedback from the consumer as well.

    My 2 cents.
    And thanks for bringing this site back to life!

  4. I totally agree with everything you said. Arctic Cat does not need to be at every little show. They should however be at the larger ones like listed. I am totally on board with Cat releasing 2021 models now. In fact I would like to see it even earlier. Cat can then show up at the larger summer and fall shows to promote them. I can’t help but believe this will get the consumers into the dealers to order their new Cat. As you stated in #3 it’s timing. Figure out the timing to get those models produced for those shows.

    Here is my problem with what you stated in #5 and the fact that the consumer should visit their dealer, now or after a show. I just can’t get past the fact that Cat has dropped so many dealers. They have made it more difficult for me, as a consumer, to visit my dealer. Too far away. With this new spring order only program I think there should be more dealers. Why can’t every town have a dealer? I’m not saying they are just Cat dealers. These dealers are already in every town whether they are a boat, car and truck dealer or even the repair shops in town. These dealers/shops can add to their product line. They don’t have to stock any units. They can have a few on the floor to sit on and kick the track so to speak. They can stock some PG&A for additional sales. They can do maintenance on the sleds to make money. Do you get what I’m trying to say? Arctic Cat has to get their products out there and make it easier for us consumers not harder. I get the internet now of buying things, I’m one of them, but would it not be great if I could shop for my sled on the web and then go to my dealer, in town, to see it, touch it and even demo it, then order it? I know I would also pick up some PG&A. Pricing, rebates and deals are no longer an issue with Cat so it’s not like you have to shop around anymore. I could go on.

  5. As a former lifelong supporter of Cat, I was very dissapointed to not see them at NOVI. Cat has lost a lot of loyal customers since 2012, they need to be out there creating good will. Not sure I will ever go back to cat after everything I have been through with them. But zero effort on there part to engage the customer base through these shows isint gonna work if you ask me. Its a PR disaster. All the excuses and and explainations in the world, dont change the minds of the customer.

  6. Spot on as it relates to these stuffy indoor shows. They’re going the way of the dodo bird unless they make serious changes. I know the cost it takes to attend from an OEM perspective. Not cheap. If you’re disappointed now it will only get worse when other OEMs follow suit. It’s not 1993 anymore. The industry has changed. Remember the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing and expect different results.

  7. Its always interesting to take a peak into the marketing mindset of what are essentially extremely high dollar discretionary products.

    I haven’t paid a ton of attention to the industry but it surprises me that besides smaller firms like Fractional Toys I haven’t seen an industry wide movement towards a subscription based ownership.

    With the cost of ATV and Snowmobiles continuing to rise it seems a bit head in the sand to not think that more and more folks are waking up to the total cost of ownership vs actual time in seat.

    I know everytime I look in my garage at my lawnmower, snowblower, sled, weedwhip, car…etc I can’t help but think it’s crazy that we all own all of these items which for the most part sit idle the vast majority of their lives.

  8. I hear everyone saying visit your dealer. How when cat has pulled most. Who would drive 3 or 4 hours for a dealer visit. Not to mention this past fall all we heard was to visit your dealer to check out the “Riot” We found numerous dealers (prior to the cut) that either didn’t get one or set them up and immediately sold them so there was no demoing was out of the question. Sure the sled sat on the floor only because it had to per cat for a certain time frame but the sold/stay off sign was a major let down.

  9. Arctic Cat had a stellar snowmageddon, the money is in the bank.
    Why spend it for a display and
    have everyone play 20 questions with the Cat employees on what’s going on with the company at the show.
    they will probably be back next year.

  10. Hey Kale! LOL! Hey do you know anyone in marketing at Arctic Cat who can look at my resume? I can offer my brand ambassador services to the Black Cats. We should do an indoor freestyle show and it would sell sleds.

  11. Shows? Smoes…. No biggie, I don’t go to the spring shows either as it’s just an excuse to grab a beer n’ a burger, as we already know everything we need to know at that point. I can see the Pullyerass crowd going to a show as they have 58 colour combinations per model. Releasing 2021 sleds before the 2020 sleds roll on the snow is so dumb I can’t imagine who dreamed that up, but I can only figure it’s to appease the dealers so they can defend “not having anything to sell”

  12. I understand your theory but still a disappointment not seeing the new sleds, brochure, poster and that type of thing. Plus there wasn’t squat for Cat stuff as far as gear, hats, sweatshirts. Pretty much the Novi show is fxr gear. Waste of time for me, won’t go back.

  13. A enterprise is either gaining market share or losing market share, the biggest factor in either instance is the dealer first, and then the product! Many great dealers have supported their customers through difficult product cycles. Dealers also enable customer satisfaction and repeat purchases most often at their expense to make it right with the customer……there is a new president announced quietly last month at TXT specialized vehicles, hopefully he will see the brand value, brand equity, and brand heritage that Arctic customers and die hard dealers have embraced and invested in for decades….JRC

  14. Kale, textron has dug a very deep hole.
    There are a lot (and I mean a lot) of people who think that they have shut Cat down, and a lot more who think they are going to be shutting the doors on cat.
    No presence at these shows, just reinforces that. You know that if you ask someone in a doo or poo shirt “where is Arctic Cat?” The reply is going to be along the lines of “they’re going out of business”

  15. Arctic insider is a bias opinion. Can’t get any real truths, just corporate as kissing. Arctic Cat has always paticipated in the shows and expo’s in the west for over 20 years consistently. With some communication and honesty from textron they could have planned something with the dealers to bring inventory like years past and the costs are minimal. Excuses, excuses, from these days.
    Textron is corrupted with dishonesty and evil intentions.

  16. Like the idea of a demo ride. Like to know what I’m buying and be positive after I buy it that I won’t hop on another brand and be pissed car se it is better.

    I want speed, handling, long term reliability, warranty, great looks, fit and finish, no back ordered parts and if my brother in law gets on it he is jealous and wishes it was his instead of the doo he is on.

    And I want a 800 number to call if my dealer screws with me or if I have problems.

    I don’t want another 2012 1100 turbo, it sits in my garage to this day and I still have a bad, no wait, TERRIBLE taste in my mouth from that experience. But would like at some point to pull the trigger on a new cat IF they release a new chassis. But it will take a competitive price and extended warranty.

    Let it snow!

  17. First off, thank you for bringing this site back to life and look forward to seeing new content from a new face. Mind you, the bar was set pretty high before you got here. 🙂

    But to the point, ‘walk into my Cat dealer’? All the Cat dealers that surrounded us dead center in the state of Wisconsin are gone. We’re at the intersection of 29 E/W & 39 N/S, home of the Polaris race dept. and former home of Ski-Doo. I shall miss walking into many of the Cat dealers I would visit during my travels to pick up oil at and check out the latest sleds in person.

    IRL to 2021 intros/demos and a roadshow, I hope (assuming the new models coming out are cool) that they somehow get 2021’s out for people to sit on, test ride and get people coming back to Cat. Don’t discount the road shows at hotels or conference centers with the new model releases, I’ve been to the Polaris show here in town many times and the place is packed and the vibe is good. Polaris does a good job of marketing.

    Thanks Kale!

  18. Totally agree! No need to spend those marketing dollars at snowshows. They definitely need to find a better way to get us on the sleds to give feedback.

    I have been on Cat’s for 45yrs. Won’t ride or buy anything else. Brand loyal!

    I was lucky to be able to ride a Riot this spring. Not impressed. I wish AC would develop a way for me the consumer to give them my feedback. I told the dealer I was not impressed. They didn’t agree with my summation. So, I know AC did not get my feedback.

  19. As it’s evident AC is in the middle of a lot of change so I’m willing to see where this goes. I will say this – without the shows you have the website and your dealers. In the past the website has been very poorly managed. Very little information. Very poor information. Very few pictures and limited views. No 360 views. Wrong information and mistakes that don’t get corrected or are never noticed in the first place. This year, spring buyers for the RIOT didn’t have clear answers on the new 800 or even if there would be one. If I’m spending money it would be nice to know exactly what it is I’m buying. It’s hard to accept how quickly things went south and how so many once loyal consumers are feeling about the brand today. I haven’t left yet, but I’m watching closely to see the direction this is all going – and I’m hoping that AC figures this out.

  20. Being a CNYer, it was sad NOT to see Cat at the Big East Show last month. Many, many folks asked why. They should have been there w/ something for folks to see (even tho they couldn’t get one per se), but would help ease folks fear that Cat is no longer around which is not the case.

    I don’t agree w/ Cat/Textron decision to have dealers pay full interest on floor planning on unsold sleds/ATV’s. No deals to help either in order to aid in moving unsold units. Doo & Poo had deals that quite frankly can’t blame folks from looking/buying them.

    Don’t agree either w/ the release of ’21 sleds when dealers still have ’19’s and older sitting on floor or in crates. Yes this may cause dealers phones to ring w/ inquiries about the ’21’s but with full interest on floor plans which dealers won’t re-coupe, dumb azz move IMO to announce ’21’s.

    So on the subject of ’21’s, hope Cat comes out w/ some new stuff in regards to suspension/chassis/motors. What would aid immensely too is a 340cc/440cc, lower cost of sleds (if possible) below that of just a promo and……..

    Funny too how Cat kisses some dealers azz yet pay little attention to others, but this maybe perhaps more to do w/ the sales rep than Cat itself.

    It’s my hope that Cat comes out swinging for ’21 and has things that hit out of the world. They need to. But to do so, they need to help their dwindling dealer network 1st and foremost above all. Been on Cat for over 40 years and with same dealer too. Tho snow is white, green is in my blood.

  21. Years ago, I demoed a sled and then bought one. I have been looking at Aric Cat for years now and wanted to demo the model I was looking at, and could not. May be this year!

  22. I’ve been critical of Textron for some time but it does appear they are starting to not play by the rules that all the other manufacturers have been playing by i.e. model releases in the fall instead of Feb plus spring only orders and cutting non profitable dealers. You gotta change things up if you want things to be different and I believe they have tried to do that. I think that it’s debatable whether these shows matter much. HayDays, is a no-brainer, the rest of them…debatable. Car Dealers and Machinery dealers have done similar things over the years. They’ve also increased their digital marketing which is important in this day. While they are doing things we aren’t used to but it’s something that probably needs to be done to change the old model.

  23. I am a long time AC owner and have had many snowmobiles and still own a quad and sxs. Not sure where Textron is taking things but dealers in the PNW are almost extinct. I’m afraid that the inaction of the last couple of years have severely collapsed loyalty to the brand. The nearest AC dealer to my location is 3 hours away, and not sure how much longer they will remain a dealer as they don’t have any new inventory. The nearest Bass Pro Shops is almost 7 hours away from me. By comparison I have a Yamaha, Polaris, Can Am and Honda dealership in my hometown and every brand of snowmobile is available except AC within an hour of my location. So if anyone is paying attention at Textron/AC, my situation is not unique, and it doesn’t take long to change loyalties when faced with these obstacles.

  24. Arctic Cat is just another piece of the pie for Textron. As an Cat loyalist I was glad to see the initial purpose. Rumors abound that Cat was not far from closing the door which would have been bad for all. Textron itself has no feelings for Arctic Cat, the rich history and the people that have made that rich history that work or have worked for Cat. No doubt its a business and the powers to be did what they thought is right to make it a stronger division moving forward. What they plan on doing with that division has us all on the edge of our seats. Releasing 2021 sleds in my opinion is damage control. Even us Cat loyalists thought AC was swirling the bowl until the recent announcement. As a snowmobiler, this is when the anticipation of a new season is the greatest. Until recently we got nothing out of Thief River Falls. What we do see and hear is not instilling confidence that they will continue to compete with the likes of Polaris and Ski-Doo. I hope I’m wrong and next weeks release instills the confidence in the consumer again or at the very least gives the belief that Arctic is here to stay! Will I be driving 2 hours to the nearest cat dealer or 30 minutes to the competition when I snow check next spring?

  25. I’m looking forward to the 19th and seeing what they are coming out with. I’m not sure if I understand the long term plan to introduce new models 6 months earlier than usual? I’m guessing this is just to generate excitement this year and to calm peoples concerns about the viability of Arctic Cat keeping open for business. I home they come out with the snow bike that is in their patent drawings.

  26. I was just thinking, would a early release give the other manufacturers time to respond and “one up” cat therefore keeping cat behind the times? I still think people will wait for the spring release to order. It has definitely created interest this fall. All this confusion may just be a result of a lot changes in management and sales style in just a few years. I’ll stick around and see what happens

  27. About the trade shows. Yes, it has been around and many trade shows of any kinds (think of NAIAS, SEMA, Customer Electronics, Toys, etc) are getting to be same idea and similar expectation but newer merchandise though. When walking in, you are expecting this or that quite the same location and all.

    Snowmobile shows need to listen to the RV industry shows situation. I am into RV industry as past five or so years as attempting to start own RV company. The industry heard dealers and other manufacturers saying the RVIA Show in Louisville was getting tiresome and they already have the Elkhart Open House as well as RVDA show, and so forth. Getting crowded with many of them. Then RVIA had to scrap the annual industry show as it was usually after Thanksgiving and they wanted different date. So, they tried the RVX show which only focus on concept vehicles, not regular models. Then it was not that successful. And way out in Salt Lake City. So, they scrapped that show and cancelled for 2020 and on. Then they realized the Open House is better because they include cookouts, gambling, concerts, etc at those shows in Elkhart. Now my advice for all shows within snowmobile industry and Textron Arctic Cat, they should listen to the open house and do same way. the cookouts, etc. During same week in a city they should choose. Yes, Yamaha and BRP should also get involved. Add ATC, ATV, watercrafts etc since they are powersports and make it bigger. Now, as for public, have it more centralized location after the industry show. Maybe in Minneapolis or at Chicago’s McCormack convention center. Or even in Vegas! Or even in Syracuse, NY because of NYSFairgrounds has a lot of convention buildings including new Expo Center. Each building houses a brand. Have those cookouts, seminars, etc on their brands. Be more like NAIAS (autoshow in Detroit). Only display concept selds and new release sleds. Hope that helps!

    As for dealerships. I know I know. many are having hard time. Looks like Textron are trying to be more like Scamp, Casita, or Oliver, or Trillium fibergass RV companies because they do not have dealerships and you have to see owners’ trailers at campgrounds to see through before you order on the phone. Funny, Scamp is just a couple of hours away from Arctic Cat.

    Good thing I decided against going to the Big East Show which is 5 minutes from me because Arctic Cat would not be there! Its a big show!

    Now about the new sleds. Blast. Come on. First was Riot then Blast. Where are the cat names? Those names sounded like it belonged to Polaris or Yamaha or Ski Doo!

  28. IMO- the industry needs Cat around, I was a cult member for many years– my dealer in Upstate NY tried to keep me happy but did not have the power to do what was right to back me up on quality issues. I am not brand loyal anymore and have tried Doo/PO— I am not going to talk about +-‘s but, it would take some serious innovation to brig me back.

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