Groupe Beneteau rolled out a modified five-year strategy, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and will shed some brands in the process.
The group will move from 12 strategic brands to eight: Beneteau, Jeanneau, Prestige, Lagoon, Four Winns, Wellcraft, Delphia and Excess. Glastron and Scarab are among the four brands that the company will not focus on moving forward.
“The four remaining brands will have the opportunity to continue their stories through new partnerships or joint ventures currently under discussion,” says Groupe Beneteau CEO Jérôme de Metz. “The brand pyramid is the essence of each brand,” he says.
The group will focus on four market segments: dayboating, real estate on the water, monohull sailing and multihull sailing, de Metz says, adding that Groupe Beneteau will seek partnerships for four of its brands, including Glastron and Scarab.
Dayboating is the world’s largest market in terms of both volume and value, says Gianguido Girotti, executive vice president and CEO for brands and products. It’s also the most fragmented.
Today, Groupe Beneteau occupies 12 of the segments with six brands. “Tomorrow our objective is to have a worldwide penetration of this market in 13 segments with four brands,” Girotti says.
In part, that will happen with a transition for Four Winns, which had evolved from a traditional sterndrive runabout and cruiser line to outboard boats under Beneteau. “The American brand Four Winns … will be the only brand in the group to offer outboard catamarans worldwide,” Girotti said.
The new plan, called “Let’s Go Beyond,” is based on three pillars:
1. Groupe Beneteau will build its strategy around the eight brands but will cover the same number of market segments with reduced investments.
2. It seeks to make plants more efficient to accelerate development times.
3. The company will seek more streamlined managerial organization structured around global core functions.
Groupe Beneteau has adapted the model lines of the eight brands it will retain in its post-pandemic strategy, and is changing the value propositions of the brands, de Metz says.
The monohull sailing market has declined 6 percent over the last 10 years, but the group has grown its share the same amount in that time with its Beneteau and Jeanneau sailboats. Beneteau plans to continue increasing its market share in monohull sailboats.
Innovation is at the heart the of Beneteau’s sailboat success, Girotti says. This year the company will debut a fully electric model, the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1. The strategy allows the company to cover 28 market segments with eight brands and 128 models, versus the 29 that it covers today with 12 brands and 183 models.
The group plans to accelerate development cycles 20 to 25 percent and reduce costs by spending fewer hours in the design office, says Jean-Paul Chapeleau, executive vice president in charge of industrial operation and development. This will be done with better collaboration with marketing teams, industrialization of models for each boat category, and development of shared systems.
In the third quarter, boat business is down 43.3 percent. The contraction extends to all segments and regions, which all show a downturn in business, with the exception of fleet sales, which are up 26.8 percent.
For the first nine months of the year, the 21.7 percent downturn for powerboat segments showed contrasting trends. The decline was limited for 30- to 60-foot outboard and inboard boats, but significantly more marked for the inboard (smaller than 30 feet and larger than 60 feet) and jet segments.
This article originally appeared in the August 2020 issue.