MIAMI — When French inflatable manufacturer Zodiac said at a press conference at the Fort Lauderdale boat show last fall that new ownership was going to revive the iconic brand, leaders promised that the first new models in years would debut at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show.
On Thursday, they delivered.
"Zodiac has been around for decades, but we're here to say we have a new owner, a new message and new product coming out over the next year and beyond," Zodiac Nautic North America president Gary Durnan said at a press conference at the new Virginia Key venue of the Miami show.
Introduced were the Medline 660 and 740, two brand-new models for the long-standing Zodiac brand that bring more versatility, starting with a removable bow sunpad, new fabrics, a new color scheme and added touches aimed at comfort.
Executives, including CEO Dominique Heber-Suffrin, who assumed ownership with partners last July, stressed that the event was a continuation of the "Zodiac is back" message delivered in Fort Lauderdale and that dealers and consumers should expect more new models, revamped current models and continued expansion in the research and development department at the company’s South Carolina plant.
Zodiac also announced a partnership with Mercury Marine outboards, expanding on its longtime exclusive partnership with Yamaha, and reiterated a promise it made in Fort Lauderdale that the revival of its Avon brand of RIBs is "coming soon."