Groupe Beneteau dealer meeting: domestic up, international down

Publish date:

Groupe Beneteau’s dealer conference in Sarasota, Fla., earlier this month was hailed as a success for the company’s four Cadillac, Mich.-built brands. The company said in a statement that 450 attendees from 27 countries attended the Sept. 7-9 meeting, where the company introduced new models and engines for its Four Winns, Scarab, Glastron and Wellcraft brands.

Trade Only also attended the event and found the participants generally upbeat about U.S. market conditions. The only negatives were Canada and Europe. Export sales are being hurt by retaliatory tariffs in those markets aimed at the U.S. boating industry.

“Domestic was great, but for dealers outside the U.S. it’s a little disheartening,” said Andy Lindsay, vice president of sales for the Americas. “We had 24 dealers from other countries, including a really good representation from Canada, our largest export market. For them, it’s a challenge.”

Lindsay said Canadian dealers are taking a “wait and see” attitude to ordering models for the 2019 model year. “They’re waiting to see if some sort of relief might come, and figuring out what to do with the upcoming boat shows,” Lindsay said. “It’s a gamble. The tariffs hit the Canadians hard. They’re due when the boats cross the border, and they can’t use floorplan financing to pay for them. They have to dip into their cash reserves to fund the sales.”

Lindsay said domestic sales remain strong. “The word is that there’s a ‘soft bump’ in the economy this year, but our dealers aren’t seeing it,” he says.

Wellcraft, which introduced two 35-foot fishing boats powered by triple Mercury 400R Verados, signed 15 new dealers at the conference.

“Some were brand new to the brand and others wanted to add the line to their other Cadillac brands,” Lindsay said. “We also signed quite a few dealers for our Scarab line. The brand is still growing. Most view it as incremental business to their other lines.”

Scarab Jet is now using 300 Rotax engines and jetdrives in both single and twin applications for wakesurfing.

The dealer conference also attracted 100 supply partners who set up displays at the show. The boats were tested by dealers and press in the marina adjoining the hotel.


A Record Q2 for Brunswick

With strong global demand in all its business segments, Brunswick Corp. reported another stellar quarter, posting a 57 percent jump in net sales.

OneWater Adds PartsVu

The online marketplace for marine parts, accessories and electronics posted $25 million in sales over the last year.

Groupe Beneteau Updates Revenue Forecasts, More

The builder saw gains in its boat and luxury-home sectors and made several acquisitions, including a majority stake in Dream Yacht Group.

Golden Manufacturing Expands

The fabricator of aluminum boat lifts and aluminum and concrete floating docks adds 18,000 square feet to its Fort Myers, Fla., headquarters.

GetMyBoat Takes You to the Movies

The boat rental marketplace site teams with Disney’s Jungle Cruise for a contest to win a boat trip or movie tickets.

ConMar Adds to Sales Team

The manufacturers’ representatives add industry vet Brain Steele.

Will Canada Reopen to Boaters?

Set to open its borders to fully vaccinated U.S. residents next month, our neighbor to the north could be facing a strike by Canadian border guards and customs officials. Plus, the Great Lakes welcomes a newly designated marine sanctuary.