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.
President, Nordic Boats
How can you attract new buyers when so many are being cautious with their spending?
The main thing we can do is keep our brand out there in front of everybody. We’re not going to do as many boat shows as we usually do. I don’t even know if we’ll be going to the Los Angeles Boat Show this year. We’ve really focused on Internet marketing — it’s helped us get our name out across the States, as well as the world. We also open our doors to potential customers by offering in-house factory tours and sales assistance. Buyers today are much more educated about what they want and we welcome their involvement during the boat-building process.
Do you envision a trend toward smaller boats?
I actually do see a trend looking toward medium- or smaller-size boats. Most of the sales we had in the last year have been in the 25- to 28-foot range, and I think that will be a majority of the market for a while. That being said, we just finished tooling a 39-foot V-bottom. Do I wish we would have started a project on a smaller boat? Maybe, but the 39-footer is still a nice addition to our lineup.
What event(s) are you most looking forward to in 2012?
Obviously the poker runs. I’d love to do even more of them, but I don’t think it’s in the cards this year. Obviously we’re looking forward to the Desert Storm Poker Run as it’s in our backyard and there’s going to be even more packed into a full week out in Lake Havasu. I’ll also be going over to Europe to compete in the ski-racing series over there. I’m looking forward to that and trying to break Chuck Stearns’ record. (Stearns won the Catalina Ski Race from Long Beach to Catalina 11 times from 1955 to 1982.)
Editor’s Note: Next up, Scott Price of CP Performance