Where are Can-Am ATVs, UTVs & Motorcycles Made?

where is the can am made

If you’ve ever ridden or driven a Can-Am ATV, UTV or motorcycle, you may have wondered where these awesome off-road vehicles come from. As a brand, Can-Am is associated with high performance and Canadian heritage. But where are today’s Can-Am ATVs, side-by-side UTVs and motorcycles actually manufactured?

In this in-depth article, we’ll explore the manufacturing history and current production facilities for the Can-Am lineup of on- and off-road vehicles. Whether you’re a Can-Am owner, a prospective buyer or just an off-road fan, read on to learn all about where modern Can-Ams are made.

A Brief History of Can-Am and Bombardier Recreational Products

To understand Can-Am’s manufacturing operations today, it helps to look back at the brand’s origins. The Can-Am story begins in the 1960s in Canada with a company called Bombardier and their early snowmobiles.

Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) was formed in 1942 in Valcourt, Quebec as L’Auto-Neige Bombardier Limitée. The company emerged from founder Joseph-Armand Bombardier’s invention of the snowmobile. Bombardier’s Ski-Doo snowmobile became wildly popular in the 1960s and 1970s across North America.

In the late 1960s, Bombardier expanded into new recreational vehicle segments beyond snowmobiles. This included Sea-Doo personal watercraft and the Rotax engines that power them.

Then, in 1971, the company launched a whole new brand focused on high performance motorcycles – Can-Am. The Can-Am name combined “Canada” and “America,” reflecting Bombardier’s goal of taking on Japanese and European motorcycle manufacturers.

Early Can-Am bikes like the 250 MX and road racing models won motocross and off-road championships through the 1970s. This helped establish Can-Am as a daring performance brand right from the start.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Bombardier continued to diversify its recreational vehicle lineup. It acquired the Evinrude outboard boat engine brand and moved into all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Entering the market for an ATV in 1985, the Bombardier Traxter became Can-Am’s first 4-wheel ATV model.

The Sea-Doo, Ski-Doo, Can-Am and Evinrude brands are all now produced under the Bombardier Recreational Products company, commonly known as just BRP. So when you buy a new Can-Am ATV, side-by-side UTV or Spyder roadster, it comes from this Canadian company with a strong heritage of snowmobiles, watercraft and performance motorcycles.

When and Where Was Can-Am Founded?

The Can-Am brand itself was founded in 1971 for Bombardier’s new line of high performance motorcycles. Research and design work on the first Can-Am bikes took place in Canada.

The brand name Can-Am combines “Canada” and “America,” signaling Bombardier’s intent to take on and beat the leading European and Japanese motorcycle makers.

Right from the start in the early 1970s, Can-Am motorcycles were designed and built in Canada. The company tapped into Canada’s expertise in building rugged snowmobiles and applied that to high-performance on- and off-road motorcycles.

Bombardier produced its early Can-Am motorcycles at the brand’s original facility in Valcourt, Quebec. This French-Canadian town was home to Bombardier Recreational Products and the birthplace of the Ski-Doo snowmobile years earlier.

So the Can-Am name was conceived in Canada along with those first championship-winning motocross and road racing motorcycles in the 1970s. Even as manufacturing expanded globally in later decades, Can-Am’s Canadian roots remained a key part of the brand’s identity and marketing.

When Did Can-Am Start Making ATVs?

Can-Am is best known today for its high-performance ATV and side-by-side UTV models designed for trail riding and extreme off-roading. But Can-Am didn’t enter the all-terrain vehicle market until the mid-1980s.

In 1985, Bombardier launched the Traxter ATV as the very first 4-wheel ATV model carrying the Can-Am name. The Traxter featured 250cc and 500cc 2-stroke Rotax engines. This helped establish the combination of Rotax power and Can-Am brand that continues today.

Can-Am ATV product planners aimed the Traxter at farmers and hunters looking for a workhorse ATV with plenty of power and durability. This was the start of Can-Am’s ongoing expansion into the ATV and side-by-side market.

Early Can-Am ATV models like the Traxter and Quest helped kick off rapid growth for Can-Am as an ATV manufacturer through the 1990s and 2000s. Brands like Polaris, Honda and Yamaha were also expanding in the ATV segment, but Can-Am quickly emerged as a top competitor.

The company gradually added sport and utility ATV models to its lineup over the years while updating technology and performance. Modern Can-Am ATV families like the Outlander and Renegade exemplify how far the brand has come since those first Traxters rolled off the line.

Similarly, Can-Am UTVs like the Commander and Maverick reflect decades of experience gained since Bombardier saw an opportunity in the young ATV market back in 1985.

How Are Modern Can-Am ATVs and UTVs Made?

Now that we’ve covered Can-Am’s origins in Canada and its expansion into ATVs, where are today’s Can-Am models actually built?

Current Can-Am ATVs and side-by-side UTVs are manufactured in several facilities around the world. This includes ATV and UTV production in Canada along with key plants in Mexico and Finland.

Having multiple factories located in different countries allows Can-Am’s parent company BRP to meet global demand and control manufacturing costs. The various facilities each produce specific Can-Am off-road vehicle models along with other BRP brands like Ski-Doo snowmobiles and Alumacraft boats.

For example, the original Can-Am facility in Valcourt, Quebec still produces certain ATV and UTV models today. This Canadian factory focuses more on the assembly of select vehicles, components and accessories.

Larger scale manufacturing of Can-Am ATVs and UTVs for North America takes place at newer BRP plants in Mexico. These facilities employ thousands of workers to mass produce Can-Am parts, vehicles and engines.

Can-Am’s European operations are centered around the Juupajoki, Finland factory. This plant manufactures ATVs and side-by-sides destined for Can-Am’s international markets beyond North America.

Between the major production centers in Canada, Mexico and Finland, BRP can make hundreds of thousands of Can-Am ATVs and UTVs per year. The various facilities build specific models tailored for their regions while drawing from shared technology and design resources.

Which Can-Am Models Are Made in Canada?

Some Can-Am owners are curious about exactly which ATV and side-by-side models are built at the company’s factories in Canada versus Mexico, Finland or elsewhere. So which Can-Ams still roll off the line at BRP’s plants north of the border?

Here are some of the key Can-Am ATVs, UTVs and motorcycles still manufactured in Canada today:

  • Outlander ATVs: Some Outlander family 2-up and MAX variants are assembled in Canada along with related components and accessories. The Valcourt factory produces base Outlander platforms then ships them for final assembly at other plants closer to end markets.
  • Renegade ATVs: Like the Outlander, BRP’s Canadian sites make certain Renegade models and accessories. These sport-focused ATVs represent some of Can-Am’s most popular models across North America and globally.
  • Ryker 3-wheel motorcycle: Every Can-Am Ryker 900 & 600 comes from BRP’s Gunskirchen, Austria plant and final assembly in Valcourt. This factory focuses exclusively on the innovative Ryker roadster.
  • Spyder RT Roadsters: Some Spyder touring and reverse trike models are manufactured and assembled at Can-Am’s home base in Valcourt, Quebec. The Spyder RT model offers a premium on-road riding experience.

So while not every Can-Am product comes strictly from Canadian factories today, BRP does still make a subset of its ATVs, UTVs and motorcycles north of the border. Key facilities in Quebec and Ontario assemble these vehicles from parts sourced both internally and from global supply chains.

This Canadian manufacturing status is sometimes promoted in Can-Am’s marketing materials when relevant. But Can-Am’s off-road vehicles made in Mexico or Finland offer comparable quality since all facilities follow shared BRP engineering and production standards.

What Models Are Produced in Mexico and Finland?

In order to meet surging global demand, BRP has invested heavily in large-scale manufacturing operations in both Mexico and Finland. These newer facilities take some production load off the legacy Canadian plants.

Here are examples of the kinds of Can-Am ATVs, UTVs and other vehicles built at BRP’s factories outside of Canada:

  • Mexico ATVs: Outlander, Renegade, DS ATVs for North American markets
  • Mexico UTVs: Commander, Maverick models for North America
  • Mexico engines: Large-scale Rotax engine production
  • Finland ATVs: Outlander, Renegade and DS ATVs for Europe, Russia
  • Finland UTVs: Commander, Maverick UTVs for European markets
  • Finland snowmobiles: Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles, parts

BRP’s manufacturing facility in Querétaro, Mexico covers over one million square feet. This massive $150 million plant opened in 2007 and builds hundreds of thousands of Can-Am and Sea-Doo vehicles per year.

Meanwhile, BRP’s Finland factory in Juupajoki came online in 2016 with comparable size and capacity to the Mexico site. It serves as the company’s main European manufacturing hub for Ski-Doo, Lynx and Can-Am.

Between Mexico and Finland, BRP can make any Can-Am ATV or side-by-side UTV destined for North American or international markets. These facilities take full advantage of their geographic locations and specialized workforces.

Is Can-Am Moving Manufacturing Out of North America?

With large factories in Mexico and Finland playing such key roles, some Can-Am loyalists wonder if BRP is shifting focus away from North American manufacturing. What does Can-Am’s global production strategy mean for the brand’s Canadian roots?

There’s no denying BRP has significantly grown and standardized manufacturing in lower-cost countries compared to 20 or 30 years ago. However, its Canadian legacy sites remain integral to Can-Am’s DNA.

Rather than outright moving facilities abroad, BRP has taken a “build where you sell” approach. Most Can-Am models bought in North America are produced in Mexico to simplify logistics and inventory management.

At the same time, BRP’s Valcourt and other Canadian facilities continue to make Can-Am components, accessories and specific vehicles like the Ryker roadster. The company actively promotes its Canadian heritage even as it expands globally.

Can-Am’s larger production footprint reflects supply chain realities facing BRP and its powersports peers. Like competitors Polaris and Honda, BRP aims for an optimal combination of quality, technology and costs.

So while not every single Can-Am comes from a Canadian factory today, BRP has preserved considerable Can-Am and Rotax production capabilities within its home country. Canada remains both a manufacturing source and key identity for the Can-Am brand.

What Powers Can-Am’s On- and Off-Road Lineup?

A huge part of the Can-Am vehicle recipe is the Rotax engine. All Can-Am ATVs, side-by-side UTVs and on-road motorcycles are powered by high performance Rotax engines.

The Rotax name dates back to the 1920s in Austria when founder Franz Xaver Meindl began building engines and motorcycles. Rotax made its mark in snowmobiles and later Bombardier’s Sea-Doo watercraft through partnerships in the 1960s and 70s.

BRP acquired the Rotax brand in 1970 and merged it into Bombardier’s recreational vehicles division. Ever since, Rotax engines have been the foundation for Ski-Doo, Sea-Doo and Can-Am vehicles.

Today, Rotax produces its signature high-output, lightweight engines for Can-Am at several BRP facilities. Key production centers include Gunskirchen, Austria and Querétaro, Mexico.

Using common Rotax engine platforms enables efficiencies across Can-Am’s lineup. But each engine is optimized for its specific vehicle application, whether in an ATV, UTV, motorcycle or other machine.

So while the brand name on the side says Can-Am, buyers can expect cutting edge Rotax power under the hood. Between Can-Am’s vehicle engineering and Rotax engines, BRP delivers high performance packages ready for the most demanding trails and conditions.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Can-Am Manufacturing

As Can-Am continues expanding its lineup with new vehicle categories and innovations, BRP will adapt its manufacturing footprint as needed. The company has proven its willingness to invest in new facilities and technology to maintain its position as a powersports leader.

What could be on the horizon for Can-Am production operations in the years ahead?

  • New facilities: BRP could build additional factories closer to key growth markets like Asia and South America. This depends on demand trends.
  • Updated facilities: Existing plants in Canada, Mexico and Finland will implement technology upgrades allowing faster, more precise manufacturing.
  • Process improvements: By fine-tuning production flows and finding supply chain efficiencies, BRP can boost output and product quality.
  • Electrification: As electric vehicles emerge, BRP could add manufacturing capacity specific to EVs and their unique components.
  • Automation: More robots, 3D printing and automated systems will likely take over certain assembly tasks to enhance productivity. But skilled workers on the line will remain vital.

BRP faces pressure from rivals also seeking to innovate and gain advantage in powersports manufacturing. Brands like Polaris, Honda, YAmaha and Arctic Cat are all capable competitors in ATVs and UTVs. Maintaining its competitive edge will require BRP to keep modernizing and adapting as an organization.

But with its manufacturing know-how, Rotax engine power and revered Can-Am brand, BRP is positioned for many more years of success. Wherever in the world new Can-Ams are built, riders know they can expect decades of experience and passion instilled in every vehicle.

Key Takeaways on Where Can-Ams Are Made

After reviewing Can-Am’s manufacturing operations and facilities worldwide, a few main points are clear:

  • Can-Am was founded in Canada and initially built all vehicles there through the 1980s
  • ATV production began in Canada in 1985 with early models like the Traxter
  • Today’s Can-Ams come from global plants in Canada, Mexico and Finland
  • Certain Can-Am models are still assembled in Canadian facilities
  • Mexico and Finland plants produce high volumes for regional markets
  • Rotax engines power all Can-Ams from multiple engine factories
  • BRP will likely continue adapting and expanding manufacturing as needed

The wide range of modern Can-Am ATVs, UTVs and motorcycles bear the Can-Am name on the exterior, but what’s under the hood and where they are actually built varies. Through globalized manufacturing and distribution, BRP is able to make Can-Am one of the top powersports brands for performance and reliability worldwide.

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