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Cigarette Head Reports Booming Business, Bullish On 2016 Miami Boat Show

Although Skip Braver, the owner and chief executive officer of Cigarette Racing Team in Opa-Locka, Fla., doesn’t supply sales figures to the media, it’s safe to say he’s as pleased with his company’s current business and future prospects as he’s ever been. According to Braver, the company is backlogged on orders for its sportboats and center consoles.

“There is a hefty amount of back orders, which is good and bad,” he said. “The good is obviously that it’s good for our business. The bad is that people have to wait for boats. But to maintain our quality level, we can only build so many boats.”

On the sportboat side, the 42X and 50 Marauder currently are the company’s hottest sellers, according to Braver, while the 1040 SD and its outboard-powered GTR sibling—the company’s most recent releases—and the Huntress are leading Cigarette’s center console sales. The majority of all sales, he said, have been to customers in the United States.

“Mercury’s new motors, the 400 and the 350, have spurred (center console) sales for everyone,” said Braver. “We use their engines exclusively, and we are very proud to have been involved in their development.”

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Braver credits Performance Boat Center for the renewed interest in the Cigarette line in the Midwest (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

In fact, business has been so strong that the factory has been hiring and currently had 90 employees, according to the Cigarette Racing Team leader. Braver credits Performance Boat Center, the company’s latest dealer based in Osage Beach, Mo., for spurring sales in the Midwest.

“The Lake of the Ozarks has been a strong Cigarette market forever, but we really didn’t have a strong presence there,” said Braver. “Mark (Waddington) and Brett (Manire) at Performance Boat Center have taken the bull by the horns. They have very much the same philosophy of marketing and how to treat customers that I do. They truly love the boats and they are selling all models for us—they’re not just good for Cigarette’s business, they’re reinvigorating performance boating.

“They’re not just looking to make the sale,” he added. “They’re building long-term relationships with their clients. They believe in the brand. There are a lot of boats out there, but not a lot of boat brands.”

Next week, Braver will head to the Cannes Boat Show in France where the latest AMG/Cigarette 50 Marauder—recently sold to a customer in Europe—unveiled at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show will be on display. Cigarette also will display at the upcoming Dusseldorf Boat Show. According to Braver, the worldwide marketing partnership between Mercedes AMG and Cigarette Racing Team has never been stronger or more productive.

To that end, Braver said visitors to the 2016 Miami International Boat Show in February can once again expect to see a collaboration between AMG and Cigarette that will be “pretty cool.” That the Miami Show is moving out of its longtime Miami Convention Center venue, which is scheduled for renovation, to Miami Marine Stadium doesn’t worry him in the least—even though most of the Cigarette product will in the water for the time in years.

“I’m not concerned about the venue change at all,” he said. “It’s Miami and people want to come to Miami, especially at that time of year. Where else would be better than Miami? I would have been concerned if they moved it out of Miami. I think it will be a good show. It will be a different show, but in many respects a better show. We support the Miami Boat Show 1,000 percent.

“We’re going to be in the water,” he added. “So how can you be in the water and still have a cool display? You’ll have to wait and see.”

Editor’s Note: To read a comprehensive feature on Cigarette Racing Team, download the May/June 2014 issue of Speed On The Water digital magazine now at no charge click here. To read a comprehensive feature on Performance Boat Center, download the May/June 2015 issue at no charge click here.

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