Analyst forecasts 5.8 percent growth in 2012 boat sales

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A Wells Fargo Securities analyst is projecting that new-boat sales in the U.S. boat industry will rise by 5.8 percent this year.

The statement came from analyst Timothy Conder, who cited in a report this morning the Statistical Surveys sales numbers for September, based on figures from 22 early-reporting states, which show powerboat sales increasing 0.3 percent for the month from last year.

“We continue to believe the industry outlook and visibility for an ongoing U.S. marine market recovery in 2013 would be enhanced once the (1) tax (2) fiscal and (3) regulatory environment issues are more constructively addressed post-November election,” Conder wrote.

Brunswick Corp.’s “significant restructuring, industry-leading and improved dealer network, product whitespace” — or growth in areas in which the company sees potential — and its international expansion in areas that include Brazil, will more than offset the domestic market’s skew toward small and mid-sized boats, Conder wrote.

Sales of aluminum boats above 16 feet increased 3.6 percent year over year in September. Outboard fiberglass boats between 11 and 40 feet were up 1.2 percent in that time frame and sterndrive/inboard boats between 14 and 30 feet were down 8.7 percent.

The Brunswick Boat Group recently announced that it will stop production and sales of the Bayliner Boats line of cruisers in the United States while ramping up production in that segment at its newly built Brazil plant. The company also will further consolidate manufacturing by shutting its Knoxville, Tenn., plant.

Sales of fiberglass cruisers 31-40 feet fell 15 percent, or six boats, year over year in September and tracked a 9 percent dip, or 81 boats, for the year.

The brand plans to enter into the jetboat segment in 2013 and “in the next few months” will launch a line called “Element,” which Brunswick touts as Bayliner’s “newest concept in affordable boating.”

Bayliner also plans to launch a new line of bowriders and a new series of deckboats in the coming months.

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