As the high-performance marine industry faces new challenges, many companies will be putting their best foot forward to continue to advance the sport over the coming years. There are a lot of questions surrounding our market, so we thought now was as good a time as ever to sit down with nine of the most knowledgeable and respected people in the business to get their thoughts on the immediate future and the most pressing issues facing this industry.
Each weekday from Jan. 9 through Jan. 19, we’ll bring you another panel member’s answers from this nine-part Industry Focus Group feature. Not quite ready to dive into the New Year? Check out our list of the biggest stories of 2011.
Owner, Shogren Performance Marine
Do you expect to see positive industry progress in 2012?
We are having a great year — in fact, we are having a record year. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is the majority of our sales are coming from used, not new boats and we see this trend continuing in performance boating for years to come. Although there is a buyer for every seller, the buyers are buying for a fraction of what a new boat costs, which is holding back new boat sales. We do feel strongly that trailerable boats in the 25- to 29-foot range are going to come back first, and for that reason we have signed up with Checkmate Boats. We also feel more consumers will be looking at outboard-powered sport boats in the single-engine class to keep speed down and enable themselves to have longer warranties with minimal insurance premiums.
How has the dealership business changed in respect to new boats vs. used boats?
We are selling 20 used boats to every one new boat right now.
Do you foresee more people upgrading their current boats or even buying something used to fix up?
We are seeing a trend of people re-rigging and or updating their boats with new dashes, new power, new paint, etc. The reason they are doing this is because they can spend 20, 30 or 40 grand and have a 2002 model look like a 2012, or they can spend 250K to trade up. In order for new boats to sell, they need to be different, not the same with a new model year stamp. Nor-Tech Boats has done the best job of this the past two years and the sales reflect that.
Editor’s Note: Next up, Arthur Burr, Total Dollar Yacht Insurance