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Brunswick plans more 50-feet-and-under models

Brunswick Corp. plans to introduce several fiberglass sterndrive and inboard boats under 50 feet in an effort to meet consumer demand and reverse market-share declines in that segment.

“We’ve got a lot of product coming here in the second half [of 2013] below 50 feet,” Brunswick CEO Dusty McCoy told investors during a quarterly earnings conference call Thursday. “Through the work we do with our dealer network and through the voice of the customer, we’re told that’s going to sell well and we’ve just now got to get it out there and get going.”

There are three dynamics at play that have caused the company to lose share in the 30- to 50-foot fiberglass inboard and sterndrive segment, McCoy said.

“We’re never happy we’re losing share, but it’s also understandable to us and we think we have a good feel for what’s happening,” McCoy said.

Brunswick decided to reduce the model count in that low range, which, combined with having competitors who have keenly focused on that segment, has caused the company to lose share there, McCoy said.

“We understood before we did this work that’s generally how it would play out and, again, there are some really great competitors down there doing a great job.”

The third factor is the new dynamic at play for parts of the 30- to 50-foot segment, McCoy said.

“The U.S. boat market has, even though it’s not growing a lot, is still the best boat market in the world for competitors to come to,” he said. “And there are some great brands throughout the world, for instance, in Europe, that are having great difficulty in their markets and they focused very much on coming to the United States.”

Sales are so small that 2.3 percent growth in the 31- to 40-foot range translates to the sale of 15 boats nationwide, McCoy said. “So when you have a few of these really great brand names coming to the U.S., trying to find a place to get some capacity in these very low counts, five or six boats start to move share. And that's what's been happening to us in that category. We've been losing some share, and we've got some new product coming.”

Although the above-50-foot category has gained some share, McCoy called the product lineup “stale.”

“We’ve got a lot of new product coming. The first one was the 51 (510 Sea Ray Sundancer) and we think it’s doing — I know it’s doing great,” McCoy said. “As we bring this new product to market, I think we’re going to continue to have share difficulty until all the new product gets out. And then our anticipation is once it gets out, our share will be fine.”

— Reagan Haynes

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