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Will We See the Arrival of New Snowmobile Manufacturers?

The withdrawal of Yamaha from the snowmobile industry is causing quite a stir. It’s enough to fuel the rumour mill. I’ll share some observations and reflections on this matter with you. First, I’ll paint a picture of the current context of the industry. Then, I’ll discuss the arrival of electric snowmobiles and their manufacturers. Finally, I’ll address my predictions about the future of the snowmobile world.

Current Industry Context

Let’s be clear about one thing: the snowmobile sales market is quite small globally. Indeed, over the past 10 years, the total number of new units sold annually has ranged between 120,000 and 140,000.

Furthermore, the decline and closure of the Russian market have reduced the number of units exported from approximately 30,000 in 2014 to zero following the Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine.

In this context, it would be quite risky for a new snowmobile manufacturer to enter such a limited market. Yamaha’s abandonment of the snowmobile division serves as a good indicator.

Therefore, to carve out a place in the snowmobile market, a potential manufacturer would have to focus on developing new markets and possibly attracting a new profile of enthusiasts.

A graph of global snowmobiles sales for all manufacturers from 1990 to 2022
Global snowmobile sales for all manufacturers

Electric Snowmobiles: Are They the Solution?

Major advancements in battery and electric motor technologies could potentially change the game. I believe this will be the case, but it will still take a few years to see significant impacts. Ski-Doo, for instance, introduced an electric snowmobile model in 2024. With a range of 50 km, it targets very specific niches. Mass production is still a long way off, but for the manufacturer in Valcourt, it represents a first step. There’s no doubt that other manufacturers will follow suit with their solutions in the coming years. Of course, we’re far from achieving a range that would allow snowmobilers to cover long distances. However, the evolution of these technologies will undoubtedly enable manufacturers in the future to offer models that are much more suitable.

electric snowmobile

The Arrival of Other Players

We’ve all heard about the Quebec-based manufacturer, Taïga Motors, which has been offering 100% electric snowmobiles for about two years now. They boast an autonomy of 100 km. Their clientele primarily consists of ski resorts, maple syrup producers, and similar businesses. Taïga Motors’ goal is to continue their development to offer electric snowmobiles that meet the needs of a bigger portion of snowmobilers.

Taiga Motors electric snowmobiles

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Finnish manufacturer, Aurora Powertrains, is also working on the design of electric snowmobiles. You can even order directly from their website. The first units were delivered in December 2023. The eSled is a snowmobile with an autonomy of approximately 100 km. I believe that for now, these snowmobiles are only sold in Europe.

eSled electric snowmobile

The Future of Snowmobiling

It’s clear that the current context isn’t ideal for the snowmobile industry. In discussions with dealerships, I’ve learned that many 2024, and even 2023 units remain unsold despite various promotions and discounts. The late arrival of snow and mild temperatures certainly aren’t helping.

As we’re just a few weeks away from the start of the spring sales period (Snowcheck), one may wonder if snowmobilers will show up to order their 2025 snowmobiles.

Personally, I believe that the market for new snowmobile sales will be challenging for at least the next two years. I hope I’m wrong. Of course, the arrival of new enthusiasts would be greatly beneficial, as it was during the COVID period.

This is where the offering of electric snowmobiles may eventually attract new snowmobilers to our sport. It will take a few more years as technologies evolve and the autonomy of electric propulsion models increases.

In short, the snowmobile industry is undergoing significant changes, and it will be interesting to see how the situation evolves in the upcoming years.

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