New model year intros: What time is the best time?

If you're a dealer whose brands delayed new model introductions last year, how did the switch work for you?

By Mike Davin, online editor, Boating IndustryLast year, Brunswick was one of several companies that decided to push back the introduction of its new model year to give dealers more time to sell the previous year’s inventory. At the time, the company said it would allow dealers to liquidate inventory in the heart of selling season, prevent inventory from being devalued by new product, reduce the risk of retail lenders lowering available credit on existing inventory and alleviate customer confusion with new model year product during the selling season.

One year later, the company has announced that it will follow the same strategy for most of its 2011 models, thus confirming the move provided all the advantages it had hoped. Very likely other companies will follow suit.

In its announcement, Brunswick made reference to its “traditional change over period” but said it continues to believe the delayed introduction offers the most benefits for dealers and customers. The question now is: considering all the advantages, should September become the new “traditional change over period” or is this situation just a temporary measure to get through the downturn?

If you’re a dealer whose brands delayed new model introductions last year, how did the switch work for you? Is anything lost by moving new model introductions, or is it something that should have been done long ago? As always, feel free to comment below.

One comment

  1. Normally I have been in favor of pushing model year change over to September. However this year my opinion has changed. An earlier changeover this year would help the dealer (me) who isn’t overstocked with carry over’s, I could more easily justify the cost difference between a 2008 or 2009 against a 2011 than I can against a 2010. Wakeboard boat companies in particular should look at earlier introductions. But the same situation exists across the industry. 2011’s hitting the street in June would further devalue new 2008 and 2009 (and in some cases 2006/2007) new inventory. I understand this hurts the dealer with carry over product, but this time I am not that dealer. An industry standard is needed, and it needs to be in the fall. I believe this is part of the reason winter boat shows have become less effective. Why go to the boat show when you saw all that product at the dealer all summer. There is nothing new or exciting left for the boat show. But right now, I would take a couple truck loads of 2011’s if they were available.

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