Dealer reaction to Maxum shutdown

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Maxum dealers speaking with Soundings Trade Only said Brunswick's decision to discontinue the boat line shouldn't have much impact on their business.

"I wasn't too upset about it. It's not a crucial boat line," said Gary Dobrindt, of The Boat Center, with locations in Connecticut and Rhode Island. "There isn't anybody that's just a Maxum dealer. … It's usually tied in with a Bayliner dealer."

"They're pretty redundant boats," he added. "I don't think that it's really that much of an impact."

Phill Keeter, president of the Marine Retailers Association of America, said he was not surprised at the news.

"I think in the original intent, Maxum was a line to be in between Bayliner and Sea Ray, and I just don't think the market held up for that," he said.

Brunswick announced Tuesday it was discontinuing the line as part of its ongoing cost-cutting efforts. Maxum will sell boats currently in inventory but will not produce any 2010 models.

"It was a difficult but necessary decision, driven and based on economics," Brunswick spokesman Dan Kubera said.

"There will be no change to the type or level of warranty service, parts and support provided to the Maxum dealers at this time," he added. "We are offering the dealers an opportunity to continue with the significant retail and wholesale incentives that have been in place during this selling season to support the dealers' retail efforts."

Steve Rogenski, owner of Tempo Marine in East Moline, Ill., said he's been a Maxum dealer since its inception in 1988, but after he picked up Bayliner in 1994, he saw sales drop on Maxums.

"It was just a step-up line for us," he said. "The Bayliner was more volume than the Maxum."

Rogenski, who also recently became a Sea Ray dealer, said the Maxum brand got lost in between Sea Ray and Bayliner.

"They've been competing against themselves quite hard for the last three or four years," he said. "They've competed against themselves for so long that something was bound to give."

Dobrindt, who also sells Bayliner, Trophy, Wellcraft and other brands, said Maxum is a small portion of his business.

"Certainly no one wants to drop anything," he said. "They'll bring it back into production in a couple of years probably when the market turns around."

Keeter said he wouldn't be surprised if more companies decide to reduce the number of model offerings or discontinue boat lines.

"I think that more boat manufacturers are probably going to reduce the amount of offerings that they have in their product line. If they have 20 models, I think you're going to see that pared down to a much smaller menu," he said.

"Brunswick could knock more lines out of there; they've still got an awful lot of product offerings," Keeter added. "I think when the Genmar thing ferrets out and it comes out of bankruptcy, I think you're going to see some of those companies gone, too."

— Beth Rosenberg

b.rosenberg@tradeonlytoday.com

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