A quick update from Lake Geneva (Wisconsin, alas, not Switzerland), where Rec Boat Holdings is hosting its first combined dealer meeting for its Four Winns, Glastron and Wellcraft brands.
Those here have been pretty blunt about the fact that the brands were in need of a refresh when Platinum Equity brought them together a few years ago and Rec Boat Holdings is certainly doing that now. The Four Winns and Glastron brands are already seeing that investment, with Wellcraft not quite as far along in the process. A few quick highlights for Four Winns and Glastron after the morning business meeting:
- Four Winns is being positioned as the luxury brand; Glastron as the sportier brand, harkening back to its 1960s/70s glory days. (Think its appearance in the James Bond flick, “Live and Let Die.”) The idea, execs say, is to make sure they don’t steal business from each other.
- The two brands are being designed by two different sets of engineers, one in Michigan (Four Winns), one in Sweden (Glastron)
- The company has invested $8 million in product development the last two years for the brands
- 28 new boats are bring introduced this year between Four Winns and Glastron
- The dealers here are enthusiastic about the new offerings and seem confident they can sell them
One side note: According to GE data that Rec Boat Holdings President Roch Lambert shared this morning, we’re seeing some nice industry growth across the board through the first 7 months of 2012. It’s shipments, not sales, but still positive: sterndrives up 9.8 percent; ski boats up 42.6 percent; aluminum boats up 48.3 percent; and saltwater boats up 46.2 percent.
I’ll also be updating with some tweets along the way today (follow me @SweetEdit on Twitter). Plus, I’m going to have a one-on-one (well, one-on-two, really) during the meeting with Roch Lambert and head designer Christophe Lavigne. I’ll be posting that article later this week.