MIAMI — The Beneteau Group is reorganizing its North American operations in a push to compete “at the next level” and will start grouping brands among various dealers.
Beneteau will be grouped with Four Winns and Scarab under the leadership of Laurent Fabre in America and Carla Demaria worldwide. Jeanneau will be grouped with Wellcraft and Glastron, with Nicolas Harvey at the helm in America and Jean-Paul Chapeleau leading worldwide, Beneteau Group CEO Herve Gastinel said.
“I know this is going to create maybe some anxiety in the short term among dealers,” Gastinel said at a press conference at the Progressive Miami International Boat Show on Thursday. “But the idea is to leverage our strengths and improve the penetration to the market. We want to make this as simple as possible. There will be no change in the short term or mid-term. What is changing is our commitment to this market.”
“With Prestige, we went from 12th to third in market share in the 50- to 60-foot yacht segment between 2011 to 2015,” he said. “We have obtained 25 percent market share in the trawler market for Beneteau since 2011. That has been achieved in four or five years, so it has been a quick development that we want to push farther now.”
Gastinel said the group will also be searching for a CEO to lead the American operation of both groupings. Dealers that carry products across the grouping’s lines will continue to do so, and the dealers will only carry the lines that make sense for their markets.
Rec Boat Holdings CEO Roch Lambert is departing the company.
“I did what I came to do,” Lambert said. “This has always been the plan. I was brought in by the private equity group to help turn the company around, and I accomplished that.”
The company touted new-product debuts at the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s Progressive Miami International Boat Show on Virginia Key and Yachts Miami Beach on Collins Avenue.
At Yachts Miami Beach, Beneteau displayed the Monte Carlo 6, the Oceanis 41.1, the Swift Trawler 30, the Gran Turismo 46 and the Gran Turismo 40 for powerboats; on the sail side, Beneteau had the First 35 Carbon and the First 22 for new products.
Lagoon, the group’s brand of sailing catamarans, had a new 42 and a new 52S.
At the NMMA show, Jeanneau debuted the Leader 46 and displayed the new Prestige 680 and Jeanneau 54, among additional models previously introduced. New for Four Winns was the HB240, the Four Winns 190 Freedom, the Scarab 165G, the Wellcraft 222 Fisherman and the Merry Fisher 855.
“Our commitment is to offer more robust organization for sales and marketing, manufacturing and product development,” Gastinel said. “Our intention is not to create complexity. We do not want to modify things for the pleasure of changing things. We want to invest more, keep investing in our facilities, marketing, product development, communication, and this is really creating a scale effect. It will be a better colonization of our efforts.”
“The second message in terms of commitment is we absolutely want to keep investing in all the four brands — Four Winns, Glastron, Scarab and Wellcraft. This is very important to us, even critical to us. We believe all brands are strategic and they are all of importance.”
Gastinel said they were going to be careful to let the American market lead concepts and design and eventually incorporate the best of both over time.
Demaria and Fabre emphasized that despite the group’s rapid gains in the United States, the company remains humble and does not see that as an opportunity to rest. Both also say dealers have been excited about the new opportunities and know that the group’s training and support efforts are among the best and believe this will help bring all brands to that level of excellence.