To keep dealers from having to purchase expensive yachts with floorplan financing, Irwin Jacobs outlined plans to open four yacht centers in the United States and Europe that will house a complete lineup of Carver and Marquis yachts.
"This will be where our dealers will be able to fly down and these products will be there for all of our dealers to see," Jacobs told Soundings Trade Only. "We don't want our dealers speculating. We don't want programs incentivizing them to buy more yachts and then end up with floorplan problems."
The centers will be housed in three U.S. locations, as well as one in Monaco. The U.S. showrooms are planned for Lake Lanier, near Atlanta, under the Singleton Marine Group dealership; and in South Florida, with Galati Yacht Sales; and Yacht Blue.
"We'll be putting these in four locations where we have what we consider Class A, on-the-water marinas with very high-quality-service level dealers," said Jacobs, estimating there are currently 30 Carver/Marquis dealers in the United States.
Dealers around the country will be able to bring customers down to a yacht center, and a captain and crew will be on hand for sea trials. Consumers will be able to try out any of the models. And since 80 to 90 percent of Marquis and Carver owners have custom work done on their boat, this will give them the opportunity to design the yacht they really want.
"What we want to do is build our business around retail business and the dealer will have an opportunity to make money without having to worry about the end of the year where they've got to discount the boat and curtailments and everything," Jacobs said.
"We're putting up about $15 million to do this. That's the investment for us, at least at this early time, and we're happy to do it because at least it will control the inventory down to a level that really is more on our side and we can control these boats, so to speak, and they won't get on the Internet and be competing against each other," he added.
This model wouldn't work for all of Jacobs' boat lines, such as Larson boats, but for larger boats it's ideal.
"The whole world has changed so dramatically that we've got to come up with a way to support our dealers where they can truly make some serious money in the business," Jacobs says. "We do not want them to take on risk today, we want them to take on the risk of making sure they service the product, not stock the product."
- Beth Rosenberg