Marine manufacturers’ sales up significantly

CHICAGO – Marine business leaders reported significantly higher unit and dollar sales in the second quarter of 2004 compared to the same quarter the previous year, according to the latest Marine Business Leaders Outlook Quarterly Survey released today by the Recreational Marine Research Center.

The Unit Sales Index was 182 in the second quarter, based on a scale of zero to 200 with a neutral rating of 100. That’s up from 112 during the second quarter of 2003, and up from 177 in 1Q04. The number of manufacturers reporting increased dollar sales also rose considerably, from 108 in 2Q03 to 181 last quarter (and 177 in 1Q04).

Overall, the marine industry remained optimistic about the economic state of the recreational boating industry in spite of mixed national economic indicators. The MBLO Business Confidence Index of 142 for the second quarter of 2004 (1Q04) indicated solid economic optimism for the recreational boating industry, according to the RMRC. The confidence index for the next six months stands at 129, then rises to 137 for the 12-month outlook.

“The boating industry continued to perform well in the second quarter, as the economy and consumer confidence continued to improve, and interest rates remained at record lows,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “The Conference Board reported that consumer confidence bounced back strongly in July, reaching its highest level in two years, and historically the boating industry does better when consumer confidence is strong.”

Moving forward, manufacturers expect to maintain the same production levels in the third quarter. More than half of responding manufacturers (53 percent) said they planned on increasing investments in plants, equipment and technology during the next six months.

“Efforts to produce higher quality, more technologically current products continue to fuel these investments,” said Dr. Ed Mahoney of the RMRC and Michigan State University.

The MBLO Quarterly Survey is comprised of a 750-member panel with representation from boat manufacturers, dealers, marine lenders, aftermarket retailers, distributors, boatyards and marinas from around the country.

More detailed results on the various industry segments covered in the MBLO are included in the full report, which is only available to panel participants. For more information visit the News Center at, or contact NMMA statistics director Jim Petru at (312) 946-6202;

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