Site might help consumers, but MRAA warns it could hurt dealers

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A new website that provides consumers with information, including pricing, on boats and other sports products will soon go live and the Marine Retailers Association of America has issued an alert to its members about the site.

 See Dealer Cost is similar to sites in the automotive market in that it is not a selling site. It provides information, including features (standards, options), specifications and pricing.

The pricing included in the site is both MSRP and invoice, according to a release from the company. The invoice price does not include shipping from the manufacturer, dealer prep, taxes, title, license and other fees as applicable, and the invoice price does not include any wholesale incentives (program support, additional discounts, rebates, etc.) that the manufacturer may be offering to the dealer, according to those launching the site.

In addition to product and pricing information, site users will have access to articles, a dealer search, request a quote (from participating manufacturers and their dealers) and used-boat values. More information will be added in the near future.

The site and information are free to consumers.

The MRAA, in an alert sent out earlier this week to dealers, said the site was a "potentially onerous situation to your business as a marine retailer." It identified the site's founders as two former marine executives - Jack Malone of Mercury and Yamaha, and Dave Taylor of U.S. Marine.

"MRAA has made several unsuccessful attempts to conference with Messrs. Malone and Taylor in order to obtain further information and background concerning the website," the MRAA said. "Without receiving a clearer understanding, we will be sending a letter to all manufacturers asking them not to supply their cost lists for this website. We are asking manufacturers to carefully consider the damage they could do to their dealer networks and, in turn, to consumers, by being a part of this website."

Mike Walker, a spokesman for the site, said he had no comment on the MRAA's alert.

The site, according to its founders, was created to reflect the changing retail environment.

"Unfortunately today, essential information must be gathered from a variety of sources, causing delays and frustration," the company said in a statement. "In addition, pricing for new products has varied greatly over the past few years due to auctions, repossessions, below-invoice sales, etc., causing consumers to lose confidence in the pricing they do receive.

"The www.seedealercost.com website is being launched to make it easier for consumers to gather essential information and to make it easier for consumers to make the decision to buy," they added.

Leads generated will be offered to manufacturers and their dealers, and advertising opportunities will be offered to manufacturers, dealers and other companies.

Click here for the full release.

Click here for the full dealer alert.

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