Jacobs predicts record sales in 2004

Defying recent predictions that indicate boat sales continuing to decline in 2003, Genmar head Irwin Jacobs boldly predicted a record year for the company’s vast line of products in 2004. Jacobs comments came at the tail end of a series of recently concluded dealer meetings, in which dealer enthusiasm was reportedly at an all-time high.
“The last 60 days has been quite remarkable,” Jacobs told the assembled press and Triumph dealers during the August 1st address in St. Petersburg, Florida, adding that the last 60 days has seen a “dramatic” increase in boat sales. Breaking down Genmar units division by division, Jacobs noted the saltwater division — made up of the Aquasport, Wellcraft, Seaswirl, and Hydra-Sports brands — had seen an astounding 67-percent increase in dealer orders compared to 2003. In particular, the Seaswirl and Wellcraft lines had seen double the orders as one year ago. The company’s Triumph line, which has gained notoriety for its use of durable roplene as opposed to fiberglass, posted a 92-percent increase in dealer orders. Jacobs noted the division was one of the largest gainers in the marketplace.
While other divisions did not enjoy quite the same stunning increases as the saltwater division, double-digit increases were still posted throughout. In the fiberglass-recreational group, Four Winns orders were up 18 percent; Glastron orders rose 16-percent; and Larson orders 11-percent on the year. The Carver yacht group enjoyed orders up 15-percent, including 18 orders for the recently launched 59’ Nuvari Yacht. Genmar’s bass boat lines enjoyed equal increases, with Ranger orders up 17 percent; Campion orders increased 14-percent; and the Stratos line enjoying a 20-percent increase. Most of Genmar’s aluminum lines had yet to complete their dealer orders, but Jacobs noted Lund had posted a 12-percent increase during dealer meetings a week earlier, and early orders for both Crestliner and Lund indicated that both would also post an increase in dealer sales.
“Basically, I’ve never seen our dealers so happy,” said Jacobs. “The bottom line is, Genmar is absolutely convinced that we are going to have a record year.”
Jacobs went on to outline some of the other high points for Genmar in 2004, one of which is the fact that the company will have 50 all new models for the coming year. “Most companies don’t even have 50 styles, we have 50 new styles,” said Jacobs. The Genmar chairman also introduced a program that specifically targeted women buyers, dubbed Women on Water, and touted the company’s ongoing relationship with both Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. Jacobs also reiterated the company’s decision to eschew the traditional boat shows in favor of Genmar-only shows, which Jacobs predicted would grow widely in the coming year. He predicted 150-200 shows in 2004, and 300-400 by 2005. Jacobs also noted that the company would have just one single, centralized dealer meeting in 2004.
Defending the company’s ongoing transition to the VEC construction method, Jacobs touted the fact that there has not been a single structural failure on a VEC hull since the company began production in 199X. He also responded point by point to criticism of the company’s new VEC Shield process, the result of a combined effort between Genmar and such heavyweights as GE Plastics, Kinro Composites, and Spartech Plastics. Jacobs also pointed to studies that showed low-emissions gelcoats now being phased in to competitor’s lines were more prone to blisters, chalking, and fading. “VEC Shield not only offers a better solution, it is the only solution,” said Jacobs.
Other highlights of the meeting included the unveiling of Genmar’s new Windsor Craft pontoon boat line, which makes use of the Triumph brand’s roplene construction in the pontoons, as well as offers a unique changing room and something that has been lacking in the pontoon boat market, in-floor storage for skis, wakeboards, and other items. The company also unveiled a partnership with Sirius satellite radio, to be included in most of the Genmar line for 2004, and reiterated a financing program with e-trade. The success of the company’s First Mate program also made news, with officials noting that the service had been uses as much to find out where the fish are biting as opposed to report mechanical difficulties.
The press conference portion of the show wrapped with the announcement that the successful Internet promotions, boatsaleusa.com and boatsalecanada.com will be resurrected to spur sales for the remainder of 2003. Interested parties will be able to receive vouchers by email for discounts on products in the Genmar line.

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