ORLANDO, Fla. – For more than 20 years, Club Car has hesitated making any major changes to its Carryall line. But that changed recently as the company, in January, rolled out new models with improvements to fuel efficiency, horsepower and other features.
The company invited media members and dealers to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Lodge in Orlando, Fla. to get an up-close look at the new vehicles and to test drive them.
Disney has almost 3,500 Club Car vehicles on its properties and has a 20-plus year relationship with Club Car.
What Club Car has learned through its relationship with Disney (Club Car actually developed a custom solutions department because of Disney) was implemented into the updated Carryall vehicles.
In addition to lessons from Disney, Club Car sent 12 employees across the U.S. and Europe visiting 46 locations that use Club Car or competitor vehicles. What they heard from that research was customers wanted a more powerful engine, more comfort in the vehicle and a fit-to-task-bed box.
Kurt Meyer, commercial/industrial marketing manager, said landscapers specifically asked for a better bed, and they wanted a pick-up truck-like tailgate that is easy to open. The new vehicle now has a single-handed latch and release tailgate, and a protected aluminum bed that will protect the inside from corrosion from any spillage.
Landscaper feedback also led to the implementation of movable bed dividers and cargo tie-down loops to prevent tools and other cargo from shifting.
“You are protecting your assets,” Meyer said of the upgrades to the truck-bed’s storage capabilities.
The company also wanted a more truck-like look to the interior, and a truck-like feel to the seating area.
“We tried to decrease the gap between getting out of the truck and transitioning into this vehicle,” said Billy Dakuras, director of sales and business development for the Americas.
Mike Cotter, commercial/industrial and consumer marketing director, said the company expects to see a sales increase of 24 percent in the commercial utility vehicle market. Cotter said UTVs can be a less expensive alternative to pick-up trucks and vans when moving people or tools around a facility.
“As budgets and teams shrink, they (facility managers) are always trying to do more with less,” Cotter said.
Other features of the vehicle include:
• Slip inside and you’ll find the key switch, shifter and gauges on the dash, right next to the ergonomically engineered soft-grip steering wheel. And, to deter unauthorized use, the company has upgraded from a common fleet key to an uncommon automotive-style key switch, something our customers requested.
• The solid-state, global charger is 92-95 percent efficient, a 10 percent increase compared to the old charger.
• The new engines boost horsepower by 30 percent and fuel efficiency by as much as 50 percent over previous Carryall utility vehicle engines.
• The aluminum bed box features a floor protected with Rhino Lining, the same material used in the beds of many pickups.
• Newly designed rustproof aluminum side panels feature a configurable track-based attachment system for carrying shovels, rakes and other equipment for specific jobs. Just remove the accessories when you don’t need it.
• Movable bed dividers and cargo tie-down loops stabilize cargo and prevent shifting. The system also accommodates optional cooler holders, trash can holders and other accessories.
• Contoured seating and more space between the seat back and the steering wheel were designed to keep drivers comfortable. There is also no wheel well intrusion.