Boat sales decline in first quarter

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Sales of fiberglass boats 14 feet and larger fell 6.9 percent in the first quarter, to 10,579 boats, compared with the same quarter in 2010, but some builders saw improvements during the period.

Ranger, Carolina Skiff, Bayliner, Sea Hunt, Godfrey, Yamaha, Boston Whaler, Nautic Star, Cobalt and Key West were the top 10 builders whose results beat the market.

Market share leaders in the segment were Brunswick Marine Group, at 11.8 percent; Tracker Marine, at 7.3 percent; Yamaha, at 6.9 percent; Ranger, at 6.3 percent; and Carolina Skiff, at 5.5 percent.

Click here for sales numbers from 33 brands in the segment.

Sales of fiberglass boats 30 feet and up fell 10.5 percent, to 880 units. The top 10 builders that were even or showed sales growth for the quarter in the segment were Beneteau, Jeanneau, Grady-White, Bavaria Yachts, Boston Whaler, Intrepid, Cruisers Yachts, Catalina, Lagoon Catamarans and Leopard Catamarans.

Sales of new boats declined at a slower rate during the quarter than they did in the same period a year earlier. The total fiberglass segment, including personal watercraft, fell 9.9 percent, compared with a decline of 11.1 percent in the 2010 quarter.

Overall, U.S. boat sales set a record low for a first quarter. The sales information is based on registration data from 47 states, or 98 percent of the U.S. market. Iowa data were incomplete because of date-entry delays. Figures from Hawaii and Maine are only available on an annual basis.

Sales of all boats in the sterndrive segment fell 17.9 percent for the quarter on sales of 2,483 boats. The top seven brands that tracked better than the market were Bayliner, Cobalt, Regal, Godfrey, Bryant, Reinell and Ebbtide.

The market share leaders for sterndrives were Brunswick Marine Group, at 35.8 percent; Marine Products, at 8.2 percent; Tracker Marine, at 7.8percent, Cobalt, at 6.2 percent; and Glastron, at 5.9 percent.

Sales of aluminum boats rose 2.2 percent for the quarter, to 13,348 units, compared with a 9.7 percent drop in the first quarter of 2010. The top 10 builders that outperformed the market were Tracker, Alumacraft, Lowe, Bennington, Lund, Xpress, War Eagle, Forest River Marine, Weldbilt, and Alweld.

The aluminum market share leaders were Tracker Marine, at 28.5 percent; Brunswick Boat Group, at 16.4 percent; Alumacraft, at 10.5 percent; Yamaha, at 6.4percent; and Bennington Marine, at 4.7 percent.

Click here for sales numbers from 33 brands in the segment.

The PWC market fell 17.9 percent for the quarter on sales of 3,586 units. The market leaders were Yamaha Wave Runner, at 40.9 percent; Bombardier Sea-Doo, at 35.2 percent, Kawasaki Jet Ski, at 9.5 percent; and Honda, at 1.6 percent.

— Aarn D. Rosen

National Marine Sales Manager

Statistical Surveys Inc.