Industry rebound on the horizon?

CHICAGO – National Marine Manufacturers Association President Thom Dammrich expects the boat unit sales decline in 2006 to continue this year.

“…if we get a flat year in ’07, [manufacturers] will be very happy,” Dammrich told Reuters in a recent interview.

That’s because boat sales decline whenever the Federal funds rate rises above 5 percent or when economic growth falls below 3 percent, according to the article.

But Dammrich told Reuters that the recent decline in oil prices will lower the costs of fiberglass, resins and foam, providing some relief for boat builders, and the price of gas, lessoning the costs of boat ownership.

In addition, he suggested that the Discover Boating campaign’s success and expectations for a lowering of interest rates and economic growth have him – and his members – feeling optimistic about 208 and 2009.

Already, approximately 6 percent of the campaign’s target market has gone from “not interested” to “interested” in boating, he said. And because it often takes two to three years for potential boat buyers to go from “interested” to a boat purchase, the industry could start seeing a boost in sales next year.

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