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How about eliminating the model year on boats?

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Warning! If you’re one of the many dealers reportedly still concerned about the elimination of the model year by some outboards builders, do not read on – the following may keep you up nights.

How about eliminating the model year for boats? Now wait a minute -- I’m not saying it’s about to happen but, interestingly, I can’t say it never will, either.

Like a balloon, the idea unexpectedly floated up in at MRAA’s Annual Convention in Las Vegas this week. The scene was the very end of a nearly two-hour-long Industry Leaders Panel program when I, as moderator, asked if boat builders were considering eliminating the boat model year? We’d just finished a discussion on the still controversial elimination of outboard model years. Truth is to wrap things up I thought it would be light and fun to ask the question, never expecting anything more than a chuckle from the 10 Industry Leader panelists. Nobody chuckled.

In fact, David Slikkers, President of Tiara Yachts, immediately said “I’d love it!” There were more than 300 dealers in the audience and everyone was frozen! After I caught my breath, I asked David to elaborate and he talked a bit about how it might eliminate dated inventories, make planning for boat buildings and dealers easier, among other comments.

As I looked at the other boat builders on the panel, I saw no surprised looks by David’s comments. In fact, Dusty McCoy, CEO of Brunswick, said it’s certainly something that could be examined, although clearly I didn’t get the impression he meant now. Other boatbuilders on the panel included Jim Lane, President, Chapparal; Duane Kuck, President, Regal Boats; Roger Cloutier, President and CEO, Genmar; and Geoff Teillon, Director, Crownline Boats.

The idea certainly raises some interesting thoughts, doesn’t it? And at first glance I know it will take someone far more knowledgeable than me to determine whether it’s an idea worth pursuing or simply a mental exercise for a slow day at the store.

I’ll have more thoughts from the MRAA Convention in this Blog next week, so come on back.

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