MarineMax had a better-than-expected Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, according to the company’s chief revenue officer Chuck Cashman, who said new models across all brands were hot among attendees.
“It was phenomenal,” Cashman told Trade Only Today. “I don’t want to say historically it was the best ever, but it was a phenomenal show. I wish I could give you percentages.”
Though the public company makes it a policy not to share sales data from shows, Cashman said he thought it was a record event for Ocean Alexander. Boston Whaler announced it had “record sales” at FLIBS, with 22 models on display including three premieres.
Azimut also enjoyed “a fantastic show” — the brand was buoyed by the fact that the oldest model in the brand’s lineup is two years old, and three models made their debuts at the show, said Cashman. Galeon, still a relatively new brand to the United States, sold both of its new boats launched at FLIBS.
“New models definitely get the customers’ interest,” said Cashman. “They do not want to see the same thing they’ve seen year after year. The brands that have invested in new product are definitely being rewarded right now.”
Scout was being rewarded in advance of its new 530 LXF, which won’t debut until the Miami International Boat Show, but was already creating a stir in the booth, said Cashman.
“There was a lot of interest, and people were able to make appointments to go see it at the factory,” he said. (Hull No. 1 is conducting sea trials.)
It was the first major U.S. show appearance since Brunswick announced Sea Ray would discontinue yachts and sport yachts, but Cashman thought it was too early to determine whether some buyers of other brands like Galeon and Azimut might have been potential Sea Ray customers.
“I think it’s safe to assume that those [Sea Ray] buyers went somewhere,” said Cashman. “They don’t necessarily raise their hand and say they would’ve bought a Sea Ray, but in our world, definitely without having the sport yachts and yachts there, that was noticed. Given the lack of Sea Ray sport yacht and yachts, we didn’t see a decline in the overall show performance. Definitely a decline in the Sea Ray sport yacht and yacht, just not overall performance.”
MarineMax will dig into some of the yacht sales to see who, for example, traded a late model Sea Ray yacht or sport yacht. Historically that buyer would have been trading up for a larger Sea Ray, so the company can draw some tentative conclusions based on that.
The Sea Rays that were on display did well, said Cashman. The new 320 Sundancer and the SLX 400 were popular in the booth.
“What was there was well received by people and sold accordingly,” said Cashman. “I think Sea Ray will continue to be an iconic brand. It’s been a year of transition for sure. I think now they know exactly what they’re going to focus on, and they’ve got the right team and resources to turn out premium boats.”
Aquila had a great show, with no tariff concerns, said Cashman. Although the brand is imported from China, MarineMax priced the boat properly, got help from the manufacturer in offsetting the tariffs, and the dealers made adjustments to help offset the cost. That helped offset the impact to the customer, said Cashman.
Attendees were not as urgent with their purchase decisions, but once they’d decided, Cashman said he saw none of the tepidness described by some dealers at the fall boat shows.
“Once they figured out what boat they wanted, we were able to put deals together,” said Cashman. “I think customers are less likely to settle than ever, so that can be confused with lack of urgency.”
“It was well past our expectations,” added Cashman. “We had success literally in every booth.”