VIDEO: Navico CEO: ‘We want to win the saltwater market’

Posted on Written by Chris Landry
Navico CEO Leif Ottosson outlined the company’s three major goals for 2017 at a media event in the Florida Keys — increase its business in the saltwater market through its Simrad and B&G brands, heighten the integration of its products with other systems on the boat and develop technology to “connect” product usage with owners and service providers.

Navico CEO Leif Ottosson outlined the company’s three major goals for 2017 at a media event in the Florida Keys — increase its business in the saltwater market through its Simrad and B&G brands, heighten the integration of its products with other systems on the boat and develop technology to “connect” product usage with owners and service providers.

DUCK KEY, Fla. — During a media event that gave journalists a sneak peek at its new products, Navico reported solid revenue growth in 2016 and said it wants to aggressively grow its business through its coastal brands of marine electronics — Simrad and B&G.

Simrad grew its revenue by 37 percent in North and South America in 2016 and 29 percent globally, Navico CEO Leif Ottosson told Trade Only Today on Wednesday during a sit-down interview at the Hawks Cay Resort.

Navico, which owns the Simrad, Lowrance and B&G brands, wants to build on Simrad’s 2016 success to continue gaining market share in 2017, he said.

“We want to win the saltwater market — that’s going to be the No. 1 goal for us in 2017,” Ottosson said. “We want to continue moving forward our position and increasing awareness about Simrad and all its capabilities.”

Ottosson said several new products that will be launched at the Miami International Boat Show (Feb. 16-20) should help the company “separate itself from the competition.”

More than 30 journalists got a chance this week to test new electronics from all three brands. Ottosson opened the event with a brief synopsis of the company’s financial standing, reporting that revenue increased from $308 million in 2015 to $319 million in 2016.

“Our revenues were not as high as we wanted, but we have continued a strong growth pattern since 2010,” Ottosson told Trade Only. “All in all, we were satisfied, especially with the Simrad brand.”

Competitors Garmin and Humminbird’s growing business in the freshwater market impacted Navico’s revenue, said Ottosson, but he was confident that the company will gain back that market share through new innovative products under its Lowrance brand, such as a high-performance addition to the HDS series of fishfinders/chartplotters — Lowrance HDS Carbon.

Navico rigged 10 boats — nine powerboats and one sailboat — ranging from 24 to 40 feet and five kayaks with its Simrad, Lowrance and B&G marine electronics. I got a chance to check out Simrad setups on the SeaVee 390Z center console and a 34-foot Yellowfin center console.

Mark Griffith, Navico product manager for multifunction displays and saltwater sonar, operates a Simrad MFD now equipped with higher resolution through a technology called in-plane switching (IPS).

Mark Griffith, Navico product manager for multifunction displays and saltwater sonar, operates a Simrad MFD now equipped with higher resolution through a technology called in-plane switching (IPS).

Both were equipped with Simrad’s new high-performance sportfish sonar module, which will be key to capturing more of the coastal/saltwater market, said Ottosson. Navico is withholding the release of this product until the boat show.

Winning in the saltwater market was one of three goals Ottosson highlighted at the three-day media event, which wraps up today. The company wants to continue to integrate its technology with other systems on board, including propulsion and digital switching.

“We are actively going to boatbuilders and engine companies and telling them we can do more,” said Ottosson. “We want to take integration to the next level.”

Navico took journalists on a fleet of boats to show them new products, many of which will be officially introduced at the Miami International Boat Show.

Navico took journalists on a fleet of boats to show them new products, many of which will be officially introduced at the Miami International Boat Show.

The company’s third goal is to increase the “connectivity” of Navico products, systems and usage data with the boat owner and service providers.

“By connecting the vessel, the boat itself can have 24/7 coverage so that when there are [maintenance] issues they can be addressed quickly,” said Phil Gaynor, product manager for Navico’s connected vessel program, which features the new GoFree Vessel product.

That connectivity also includes giving owners the ability to share data — such as trip histories, favorite destinations and photos and videos — via social media. “Boat owners can share their experience and take it with them off the boat,” said Gaynor.

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