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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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New faces cheer exhibitors at Boston show

Overall turnout was up, and dealers were encouraged by the higher percentage of entry-level prospects Paul Hegarty of Hyannis Marina echoes the sentiments of many Northeastern dealers when he calls the New England Boat Show “critical.” “We’re prepared to be as aggressive as we need to be,” Hegarty said after the first of the show’s…more

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Dealers work to clear pre-2009 inventory

Production cuts ease flow of current product, but older models sit in showrooms Aging inventory has always been a monkey on the boat dealer’s back. These days, it’s more like an 800-pound gorilla. With the weakest economy in decades, marine lenders disappearing and banks tightening standards on consumer loans, dealers are scrambling to sell last…more

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A rapidly shrinking lending landscape

Dealer concern mounts as Textron’s pullout leaves only GE and Bank of America as floorplan players Still coping with the September loss of KeyBank as a retail and commercial marine lender, the industry was dealt another blow in December when Textron Financial Corp. said it is quitting marine floorplan financing. The pullouts leave boat dealers…more

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