Avoiding Great Recession Redux

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When the covid-19 pandemic began to create ripple effects throughout the U.S. economy, Vantage Resource Group met to discuss similarities and differences between today’s economic conditions and the Great Recession.

The team, which has 300 collective years of experience in the marine industry, decided it would be helpful if dealers had a tool to help them share inventory they couldn’t move, or request boats they needed and couldn’t get. The result is dealerinventoryexchange.com, a wholesale dealer inventory exchange portal.

“Unlike the auto industry, the marine industry doesn’t have a source to look for wholesale inventory from dealer to dealer,” said Ross Solwold in a video explaining the tool to dealers. “This password-protected website can help you do that.”

The current downturn has been different than the previous one in that it has hit dealers differently, Matt Gruhn, president of the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, told Trade Only Today.

“Some dealers will sell enough that they’ll run low on inventory, and manufacturers having shut down for a while, there will be a gap in production,” Gruhn said. “They’re probably building mostly sold boats at this point before they begin ramping up for inventory. At the same time, there will be dealers not selling boats well, and they’ll be overstocked.”

The inventory exchange is free, password-protected and does not require dealers to be members of Vantage Resource Group, according to a statement.

“They just created it,” Gruhn said. “There’s no catch, no strings attached. They verify you’re an actual dealer. Dealers can go in and use this tool to help with inventory management. That’s going to become incredibly important as we navigate this slowdown.”

Following the Great Recession, problems that arose from inventory gluts were compounded when dealers went out of business and remaining retailers had to sell new boats against heavily discounted, late model year inventory that had been repossessed.

Vantage also is offering free marketing resources to dealers with a campaign called “Reunited on the Water.”

“It’s a way to market getting back on the water in a responsible way,” Solwold said.

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