GREENWICH, Conn. — A new boat entered the U.S. market on Thursday with the introduction of the custom British performance powerboat brand Hunton Powerboats.
The Hunton XRS37 was unveiled at a media event in Greenwich that was hosted by Total Marine, a high-end dealer, broker and service agent based in nearby Norwalk, Conn. The brand will be introduced on a larger scale at a private event to be held during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
Although Hunton Powerboats was established in 1979 by champion powerboat racer Jeff Hunton, whose vision was to combine to combine the best in engineering and performance with fine-finish luxury, “the business was run more as a hobby,” CEO Fiona Pool says.
Pool is one of four partners who purchased the company in 2010 and spent two years restructuring the operation with an eye for bringing what had become an iconic high-end boat brand in Britain to an international market.
Chris Kelly, vice president of digital media for the AIM Marine Group, interviewed Hunton CEO Fiona Pool about the introduction of the Hunton brand to the U.S. market. Click play to watch.
Huntons are built for a discriminating buyer, Pool says. The builder’s base 37- and 43-footers start at $610,000 and $799,000, respectively. The company proudly promotes a comparison to another iconic British luxury brand, automobile manufacturer Aston Martin.
“Our typical client base has a high net worth and they understand and appreciate premium quality and expect the best,” Pool says.
Hunton has historically built about 10 custom boats a year, but with new ownership driving international marketing, Pool says the business plan is to eventually build 30 to 40 a year and retain Hunton’s niche market position.
“We will never mass-produce Huntons,” Pool says. “As soon as you do, you compromise quality and we won’t do anything to compromise that.”
Two high-end rigid hull inflatable tenders have been added to the line under new ownership. A scale model of a 52-foot boat will be introduced at the Düsseldorf Boat Show in January and there are plans to launch a smaller “entry-level” boat in 2015.
The principals of privately owned Hunton Powerboats are exploring outside investors to fuel the international business plan, which includes expanding the builder’s distribution base in the United States.
“My vision is to make Hunton the next great British brand,” Pool says.
— Rich Armstrong