No Limits for OEMs: ARGO & Vanguard® Come Together to Power Extreme Vehicles 

“Go Anywhere.” ARGO’s tagline is not only an invitation to explore any terrain, but also a challenge to push boundaries, explore new innovations and defy expectations. It’s how they approach designing its extreme terrain products as well as its vendor partnerships. 

Origin of an ARGO

The development process for every ARGO unit starts with identifying a customer need. “We’ll look at what the market is telling us for an existing product, and identify if there’s a gap in capabilities that we want to fill or an entirely new offering we want to put forward,” says David Overholt, Product Team Manager-Program/Validation, ARGO.

Aside from the market, voice of customer research also plays a part in determining a new product. “We address consumer complaints or concerns where possible,” adds Jeremy Bauman, Product Team Manager – XTV, ARGO. We look to improve the manufacturing process and reduce costs where possible, but really we want to add value to the consumer. We want to give them new features and functionality and increased performance to assist them in their off-road endeavors”.

To achieve that increased performance, ARGO makes careful decisions when it comes to the vendors it chooses to partner with. Everything from reputation in the market, willingness to innovate, expansiveness of the dealer network and reliability of parts all comes into play.

Powering Up

During the early stages of product development, the ARGO team begins exploring the appropriate power solution for the application. “The engine and the powertrain are so critical to our vehicle, we really have to start thinking about that early on,” says Bauman. 

The ARGO team doesn’t dabble in engine design or undertake emissions certification on its own. So, it leans on the expertise of its engine manufacturers that are certified under the appropriate emissions for small spark engines. 

“Obviously, we’re looking for a balance between cost and performance to give the consumer the value they’re after,” says Bauman. “Vendor relations are incredibly important to us. We also consider the manufacturer’s reputation and their standing in the marketplace as a widely accepted power solutions provider with a reliable portfolio.”

After putting each power option through their laundry list of criteria, the team is left to choose among a few solid options for specification on the new unit. More often than not they choose a Vanguard power solution. 

“Vanguard is an excellent product. Well-designed, well-packaged, well put together,” says Bauman. “There’s a good selection within the Vanguard line of power options and we find Vanguard great to work with.”  

No Limits

One thing ARGO and Vanguard have in common is a ‘no limits’ mindset. In fact, ARGO expanded its relationship with Vanguard when their team started exploring designs for their line of robotic vehicles. Building on years of powering ARGO units with its engines, Vanguard and ARGO worked closely together to integrate the Vanguard Commercial Lithium-Ion Battery Pack into the ARGO unit.

“It was really nice going through the process of marrying the battery and the machine together,” says Overholt. “And because we were a part of the process, we have a more intimate knowledge of the system powering our vehicle, and that’s a huge advantage for us when dealing with end users.” 

Vanguard’s level of service and support during the product application process is a mainstay of the relationship, providing continued value. “Customer support is a huge differentiator — we appreciate how Vanguard puts so much stake in its power solutions and supports our customers as well as us at ARGO,” says Overholt. 

Beyond terrain and power sources, however, Vanguard also applies ‘no limits’ to its sales and partner support, including ARGO in many of its recent trade show engagements. “Through the Vanguard trade show exhibits, ARGO has seen an increase in brand awareness and increase in lead generation with new markets such as trail grooming and mining,” said Overholt. 

Power Application Seals the Deal

The relationship between ARGO and Vanguard isn’t unusual. With a legacy of providing power, Briggs & Stratton and Vanguard prioritizes its customers' power needs to ensure the appropriate solution is matched to OEM equipment. 

“It’s a huge advantage to have the weight of Briggs & Stratton behind us,” says Overholt. “We can feel good that this product will be supported over time and there’s a team involved ready to provide that support.”

The ARGO and Vanguard teams work closely together on any new power application, making adjustments as needed to suit the ARGO equipment perfectly. “Vanguard is doing a lot of continuous improvement and product development within their own line,” says Bauman. “And the benefit of the prototyping and customization capabilities at the Power Application Centers is fantastic for us. “

Matching the most effective power solution to a new machine design can be quite the hurdle — especially if going it alone. That's why ARGO partners so closely with Vanguard. Together, they can collaborate on the power options that will best fit the application. This streamlines the integration process, shortens time-to-market, and provides a more reliable product overall — just as you'd expect from either provider.