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Southern California feeling the pain

The state’s high unemployment rate and housing market collapse are cutting deeply into boat sales Throughout the recession, South Florida has been the poster child for boating industry hardship, but lately, it seems, that role might rightfully belong to Southern California. Like their counterparts in other regions, dealers in the Los Angeles area were hoping…more

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A rebirth for Triton and Earl Bentz

‘Re-energized’ founder looks forward to a new era of entrepreneurship The new start that Triton Boats will have under private-equity ownership has reignited founder Earl Bentz’s entrepreneurial enthusiasm. “I’m as excited and re-energized as I was when I first started this company,” says Bentz, 58, who will remain at the helm as Brunswick Corp. transfers…more

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First signs of a thaw in retail credit

Departure of risky buyers and nibbling by local banks open cracks in the ice In the depths of the economic decline, it was common to hear dealers in all industries complain they were losing deals as banks tightened lending guidelines and declined more applicants. Now some boat, RV and auto dealers say they are seeing…more

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Floorplan volume on the rise, GE says

Company estimates approvals are up 10 percent, as boat businesses adapt to new market realities Getting wholesale financing is more likely today than it was a year ago, thanks in part to a “fundamental reset” in the marine industry – adjustments that have positioned companies to make money at lower sales volumes. That’s the conclusion…more

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Reinventing the boat show

When it comes to boat shows, there’s agreement among many on one aspect: There are too many. The National Marine Manufacturers Association sold four boat shows and acquired one in the last year, leaving a total of 17 NMMA-owned shows. Several were called off because of the economy, and not all of them will be…more

Sea Rays and Bayliners with a Euro feel

If you’re really going to win in export sales, you have to compete with local brands instead of other exports, says Brunswick Corp. executive Stephen Wolpert. Plants that have manufactured Brunswick’s European brands, such as Quicksilver, Arvor, Uttern and Valiant, are now building Bayliners and Sea Rays specifically for a European clientele, says Wolpert, Brunswick…more

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The question now: How much to build?

Companies closely monitoring sales as they ramp up to avoid shortages Boat and engine manufacturers were casting a hopeful eye to the winter boat shows as they wrestle with the uncertainties of how much product to build. With inventory levels at record lows, manufacturers are trying to shorten lead times to meet seasonal demand and…more

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The struggle to hang on until spring

For many, it’s their toughest winter in the boat business – for some, their last As some segments of the economy show signs of emerging from the deepest recession in generations, boat dealers and manufacturers continue to struggle with a long, hard winter. Many expect more to fail before spring. The announcement by Yamaha that…more

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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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