Michigan group reports boost in boat-show numbers

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The Michigan Boating Industries Association says an uptick in space sales at its boat shows, in addition to a rise in attendance, means more people are buying boats.

The group’s Spring Boating Expo takes place Thursday through Sunday in Novi, Mich., and space sales for the show are up more than 25 percent from 2011. Space sales, attendance and boat sales were all up at the Detroit Boat Show in February, which mirrored what most other first-quarter shows experienced across the country.

Also, statistics show that the demand for bigger boats is rising, so dealers are showing them, which also leads to a need for more space at boat shows.

“Attendance and sales are headed in the right direction and consumers’ attitudes are greatly improved,” MBIA president John Ropp said in a statement. “No more grumbling about the economy — dealers are hearing serious questions, leading to serious leads.”

Good news about the auto industry, improving home values and a declining unemployment rate are helping to build consumer confidence. Many dealers at the Detroit show had their best sales since 2008, according to the association.

Other factors in the improving sales picture include new products, improved technologies and fuel efficiencies that are enticing people to make boat purchases.

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Dealers and exhibitors were pleased with the show results.