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Beneteau America ramps up fall production

Beneteau America is accelerating product launches, rolling out new models ahead of schedule after having success at fall boat shows.

The MC5 will be launched at the Düsseldorf Boat Show, which takes place Jan. 19-27, and the new ST50 will be launched at the Miami International Boat Show, which takes place Feb. 14-18, Beneteau America president Laurent Fabre told Soundings Trade Only.

The move comes as the company adjusts sales projections upward 10 percent after successful U.S. Sailboat and Powerboat shows in Annapolis in October.

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show also was a success, Fabre told Trade Only Oct. 29 at the show’s conclusion. “We sold boats,” he said after what he called a busy closing day.

Fabre told the (Annapolis) Capital Gazette that the fall 2012 boat shows in Annapolis generated higher sales than projected, although he didn’t divulge exact numbers. He said pent-up demand, an improving economy and low interest rates for boat loans helped turn the tide on boat show success after the market went into a slide during the recession.

“Boat sales were up,” Fabre told the newspaper. “People were willing to sit down and order boats. It’s encouraging to see that. They were coming to the boat show with the idea of buying a boat. The past five years people weren’t doing that.”

Interest in Beneteau powerboats and sailboats doubled during the 2012 shows, compared with the 2011 events, Fabre said.

U.S. Boat Shows general manager Paul Jacobs told the paper the two Annapolis events experienced a 20 percent spike in Friday attendance. The shows sold more tickets than in 2011 and again attracted more than 90,000 people over the course of the two weekends.

The boat shows combined are the second-largest annual event in Maryland, with an estimated $51 million impact, according to U.S. Boat Shows.

About 40 vendors have already agreed to return for the spring sailboat show (April 26-28). He said this year’s fall events signaled an encouraging shift in the industry’s course.

Click here for the Capital Gazette report.

— Reagan Haynes

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