Despite that Baja Marine’s business has reportedly doubled in the past 12 months, Johnny Walker, the chief executive officer of the Washington, N.C., powerboat company isn’t overly exuberant about the upturn. First, those sales are spread over four brands—Baja, Donzi, Fountain and Pro-Line—with the latter, a true center console fishing and work boat, carrying most of the business. Don’t misunderstand, Walker is pleased with the company’s progress. He’s just careful to keep it all in perspective.
Walker believes the 35 Outlaw will continue as the strongest seller in the Baja line next year.
What do you see happening for the Baja, Fountain and Donzi brands in 2015?
“I see them continuing to improve for another 12 months or more. Some of it has to do with us increasing our marketshare, and some of it has to do with improvement in the marketplace. I guess the difference between us and most people you’re talking to is we were in start-up mode, but a start-up mode with name brands. I can say that brand sales are up 100 percent over last year. I can also say that the bar wasn’t very high. But this past year has gotten us past the hurdle of, ‘I didn’t know you guys were still in business.’
“It really is a marketshare thing. I think sportboat sales in the Donzi and Fountain lines will continue to be sluggish, the push in those brands will continue to come from center consoles, same as last year. On the Baja side, we do more 35s than anything else. Compared to anything in the size range for sportboats, it has to do with price point. You can to 70 mph in 35 Outlaw and not have to spend $400,000 to $500,000. When you look at anything else in the 35-foot sportboat range, nobody else is selling one for $200,000. As for the Donzi Classic series, I think it will continue to supplement the Baja line, just as intended.”