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The Spark heard around the industry

By By Tom Kaiser

A personal watercraft that starts at $4,999 with monthly payments under $100, an advanced, quiet engine, and a whole industry looking to get in on the action — this is the story of the Sea-Doo Spark. Approximately six months after its big announcement, this angular little craft is still the talk of the marine industry.

For the upcoming May issue of Boating Industry, I’m putting together a market trends feature on the PWC category. After interviewing most of the main players, it’s clear that Sea-Doo’s affordable boat was a shot heard loud and clear by the competition. Expect to see responses from Kawasaki and Yamaha.

Both competitors tell me their respective companies wouldn’t build something exactly like the Spark. With different engines, hulls and underlying corporate strategies, it’s a safe bet that the entry-level PWCs are about to become a lot more interesting, with many more affordable choices available to consumers.

After years of significantly reduced personal consumption, spending hard-earned money to have fun is a growing trend to the benefit of all in the marine and powersports markets.

As a category, PWC logged some significant growth in the past 12 months. With more models, attention, development and marketing, expect more of your customers to be excited about picking up their own personal water cruiser in coming years — and maybe doubling down and going home with a pair of them on the trailer.

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