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Signs of life in RVs — are boats next?

There’s a long-standing belief that the RV market leads the boating industry by about six months. Feedback from those in the RV and marine trades indicates that formula is holding true in this recession, even though the numbers show both industries are tracking similarly. Still, there are leading indicators on the RV side that are…more

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Repowering Maine’s marine industry

Federal stimulus money will help keep boatyards busy with repowers this winter Maine has found an interesting way to secure $1.2 million in federal stimulus dollars for its marine industry. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection was granted federal funds to help repower at least 40 commercial vessels during the next year, from lobster boats…more

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The Northeast’s one-two punch

As the region’s boat businesses struggled to cope with recession, cold and rain were making 2009 the ‘year without a summer’ Editor’s note: For this story, we looked at the boating industry and economies along the New England coast – Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island – in addition to New York. The…more

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A supply chain of fragile links

Builders fret about solvency of their vendors, calling them a key to recovery The “make-to-order” business models adopted by several builders during this recession mean more challenges – not just for the manufacturers, but for their vendors and suppliers, who now must deal with stop-and-go production schedules and sporadic ordering patterns. Some builders say they…more

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An industry of small, niche builders?

Speculation grows on the size and shape of the post-recession boat business A sort of anti-consolidation scenario – fewer multibrand companies and more independents building boats for specific niche markets – is one widely held vision of the post-recession marine industry. But it’s only one of many potential boatbuilding landscapes emerging from all the speculation…more

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Boston’s First Family of boat and engine sales

The Russos balance mom-and-pop ideals with cutting-edge sales strategies One morning earlier this year, a first-time visitor’s reaction on entering Russo Marine in Medford, Mass., was a familiar one. “Wow!” Larry Russo Sr. and his wife, Bee, say they often get that reaction when customers first enter the 42,000-square-foot facility that houses a 50-boat showroom.…more

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A new boatbuilding universe evolving

In this depressed marine sales environment, manufacturers are making systemic overhauls to the way they build boats. The changes are affecting everything from where boats and engines are built to how they are built and sold. Some of the changes will be permanent, while others will linger long after the economy recovers, many believe. Dealers…more

A dealer-to-dealer wholesale channel

A new tool launched by BoatTrader.com is helping to keep wholesale inventory out of the retail market and making it available to other dealers around the country. The 2,600 dealers in BoatTrader.com’s network have access to a wholesale section that was launched May 20, says David Bingham, BoatTrader.com general manager. The mechanism began as a…more

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Inventory buildup shows signs of easing

There’s still a lot of product out there, though, and the 2010 models are on the way Supply and demand: It seems like a basic enough concept. But when dealers are expected to anticipate consumer behavior a season or even 12 months ahead, things can get tricky. That was especially true last year, when an…more

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That export cushion is fast losing air

Boatbuilders expect to see stagnant overseas markets until U.S. leads the way out of recession Overseas sales, a cushion for U.S. boatbuilders in the early stages of the recession, are proving only a temporary respite, just as many of the manufacturers had predicted. Hard numbers from the federal government confirm the decline in export sales…more

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