Tracker Off-Road leverage the Bass Pro network to move rigs.

Back in January, it was announced that Textron would begin manufacturing Tracker Off-Road vehicles at its facility in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. As a part of the partnership, Textron will build the machines while the Tracker brand will distribute them through retail chain Bass Pro Shop’s nearly 200 destination stores and 575 independent Tracker marine dealers.

On the surface, it’s a great idea. After taking over the company, Textron binned the Arctic Cat name and replaced it with its own. Predictably, consumers were thrown into a fugue, as the new brand wasn’t nearly as recognizable nor did it have the recognition and cachet of its forebear. “Textron?” most people exclaimed, “Where are they from?”

They’re from right here in America of course, even if few people knew the name. Someone at the company must’ve wised up to the error, as Textron entered into the partnership with Tracker. Given the popularity of Tracker boats, and the huge distribution network, this made a lot of sense. The Tracker brand is also very recognizable.

It didn’t take long for company brass to use that market goodwill to promote the fact they now sell all-terrain vehicles. Advertising for Tracker ATVs quickly showed up on the hoods of NASCAR racers, for example, as the company used their relationship with Truex Jr. and Austin Dillon to get the message to consumers.

Has it worked? Well, the lineup currently stands at four ATVs and six side-by-sides, including a couple in the 1000 class. In particular, the XTR1000 features a 130hp engine and Fox shocks to go with its 14 inches of ground clearance. Somehow, the infusion of Tracker colors and branding has helped the machines grown into their appearance, styling which never looked quite right in the Arctic Cat and Textron days.

That price, by the way, is on par with the two-seat Polaris RZR S 1000, a rig which has 100 horsepower and 12.5 inches of ground clearance. The 64-inch XP 1000, a machine the same width as the XTR1000 and is closer in power and clearance measures, costs $18,599.

Will market share improve as a result of these changes? Time will tell but, as the Magic 8 Ball is apt to say, signs point to ‘yes’.