Lake Havasu City loves its toys, but buying a boat or off road vehicle here has rarely been so difficult.
According to sales tax numbers released by the Arizona Department of Revenue earlier this week, motor vehicle and parts sales has been one of the top retail industries in town over the winter. Motor vehicle and parts produced more than $550,000 in sales tax in January alone for a 62.4% increase compared to January 2021. The same category was also up exactly 62.4% in December 2021 compared to the same month in 2020.
Boats and off road vehicles have had a particularly wacky year in 2020. Ken Little, the operations manager at Havasu Powersports said supply and demand for boats and side-by-sides have been flipped on their head this year.
“There is huge, huge, huge demand and the supply is not meeting that demand,” Little said. “The supply chain is so very broken that most of us just aren’t used to it.”
Little said it seems that there are a few hiccups in the supply line for both UTVs and boats this year. He said he has been told that Yamaha is currently struggling to get windshields for some of their boats which has set them back by several months. On the off road side Little said Fox Racing Shox – which supplies suspension components for many UTV manufactures – are currently struggling to get the materials from overseas that they need for their products.
As a result, Little said there is virtually no inventory available but lots of interested buyers. He said that is the case in the Havasu storefront, as well as stores operated by the company in Bullhead City and Parker.
“Normally inventory is here, people come in, look at what they want and pick and choose,” he said. “That doesn’t exist right now. Most of everything we have sold is pre-sold by deposit.”
Little said boat sales generally start to kick up in March and stay strong until about July. He said typically sales decrease November through February, but this year there was no slow down at all.
“We are completely sold out well before the fact,” Little said. “They are taking deliveries and just putting them in storage until it warms up. There were lots of early purchases, which makes the summer very uncomfortable because of all the people we will have to tell, ‘Just wait until 2022.’ The manufacturers aren’t making any more than what they have obligated themselves to.”
Off road vehicles, particularly side-by-sides, have been similarly difficult to come by this year. Little said Havasu Powersports doesn’t have any available UTVs in stock either, and deliveries have been slow. He said the business has actually increased its sales income from UTVs this year, but the number of units sold has gone down slightly. But he attributes the decline in the number of units sold strictly to the manufacturer’s supply.
“UTV sales are as good as they can be considering the lack of inventory,” he said.
Although UTVs are the most popular off road vehicles in Havasu, he said ATVs and various power toys for kids are also back ordered for several months.
“At this point in time available inventory is really small across the board,” he said.
Little said he expects that back orders and low inventory levels will hang around for the foreseeable future, at least until the supply lines for the various vehicles are back running smoothly.