MIAMI — The Ferretti Group's annual press conference at the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach sent the message that three years after a Chinese commercial machinery company acquired the Italian yacht builder, it is emerging on an equal footing with competitors.
"We are here to stay. The group is alive and kicking as never before," a defiant group CEO Alberto Galassi said at a Thursday morning press conference. "Before we were weak against competitors," he added, using the soccer analogy of eight players having to compete against a full team of 11. "Now we are 11 versus 11."
The Shandong Heavy Industry Group acquired a 75 percent stake in the Ferretti Group in January 2012. The cash infusion from the construction machinery giant has Galassi predicting that "2015 will be exponentially better than 2014, including in the Americas."
The group displayed 18 new boats across its brands at the show and 13 brokerage boats. Among the new boats is the North American debut of the Ferretti Yachts 650, an entry-level boat for the flagship brand and the first in a series of increasingly smaller yachts. Even smaller 55- and 45-foot Ferrettis are in the works.
"We want to catch the customer at the start so they can then grow with us," Galassi said of a new strategy that involves a change in the structure of the company that stresses each of the group's seven brands as separate companies, sometimes even competing against each other.