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December sales rebound in Great Lakes

Boat sales were mixed in December as the total market took a step back, but three regions moved toward the new year with positive results.

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The entire boat market declined 11.3 percent on 2,843 units. But the East North Central (Great Lakes) and Pacific regions saw growth of 20 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.

The West South Central (Southwest) saw growth for the quarter, increasing 0.5 percent on 3,489 units. The 2010 year-to-date rate of decline decreased 0.2 percentage points from last month's 12.9 percent, dropping to 12.7 percent    for the 12 months that ended in       December. Nationally, aluminum dropped 0.8 percent in December.

Low December unit volume exaggerates the ups and downs in the month and makes drawing meaningful conclusions more of a challenge. Still, December 2010 closed the calendar year with a declining, less-than-stellar fiberglass market and a new equilibrium for the aluminum market. Final numbers for the fourth quarter of 2010 will be released in March.

These numbers represent the entire fiberglass and aluminum markets, including personal watercraft. They include 27 early reporting states, approximately 66 percent of the national market. December represents 2 percent of total annual retail volume on a calendar-year basis.

All comparisons are year-over-year. The Coast Guard Documented Vessels file was not included in this summary because of data entry delays, so declines could be overstated as a result.

This article originally appeared in the March 2011 issue.

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