Outboard model year elimination still uncomfortable

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I am writing this week from the second of two major in-water boat shows presented on the Great Lakes. The first was at Michigan City (near Chicago) and, now, this show at Cedar Point (between Cleveland & Detroit.) Today was opening day and as I walked the docks and land spaces it occurred to me that this is a “very good show” featuring an abundance of great boats on display. In fact, it’s the largest show here at Cedar Point in at least a decade. Now that I think about it, the same can be said about the Michigan City show that was held late last month.

Now, when I say “very good show” I mean the visiting public will be seeing a very large selection of boats, definitely many more than last year and that ought to turn visitors on. Then it hit me – they may not be very turned on when they discover they’re looking at last year’s models! Oh, yes, there are definitely some ‘08’s throughout the show. But there’s a very large number of ‘07’s in almost every exhibit. And that’s not good because it obviously means dealers are too heavy in non-currents and are hoping the boat show will be the vehicle to move them out. But that started me thinking; here is an opportunity for me to use this Blog to recognize good ideas manufacturers are using to help clear non-currents from the pipeline. So I started asking dealers for examples.

Sadly, only a couple reported help in the form of significant spiffs on certain models, etc. Most said their manufacturers offered little or no help with non-currents, not even a simple program that could shift inventory out of a market where it won’t move to another dealer in a market where it can.

It all leaves me with this interesting question: Should a manufacturer be obligated to help move non-currents out of a dealer’s inventory and, if so, how could that reasonably be accomplished by the manufacturer?

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