Brunswick takes dealer relations to another level

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Marine industry giant Brunswick Corp. (NYSE: BC) is taking its dealer relations a step farther in an attempt to … well … give its dealers an advantage – one it expects to benefit from. Hence the name of its new Brunswick Dealer Advantage program, a package of tools, products and services available to all of its 5,000 boat and/or engine dealers.

The program shouldn’t be a surprise to those who have been listening to the promises of its top executives over the past few years. A little less than a year ago, McCoy described some of the features it was hoping to offer its dealers soon for a Boating Industry magazine article, Why exclusive may be conducive. “… we’ve been looking at what we can bring to the dealer network that provides the dealers a value proposition they can get nowhere else,” he said in early 2006.

“Brunswick Dealer Advantage fundamentally redefines the marine industry’s traditional dealer/manufacturer relationship by offering innovative benefits that go beyond great boats and engines to focus on the operational needs, employees and customers of independent marine dealers,” explained Dustan E. McCoy, Brunswick chairman and chief executive officer. “Dealer Advantage eclipses anything being offered in the industry today. It will generate real, incremental profit for our dealer partners while ensuring that we differentiate the consumer’s experience with Brunswick-branded products.”

More to come

The Dealer Advantage program is just getting started, according to Brunswick, with more products and services to be added down the line.

All of its offerings fit into three categories, however – operations, employees and customers. It also will expand its brand-specific certification opportunities – think of Sea Ray’s Master Dealer program and US Marine’s Pro Dealer program – which will bring with it multi-year agreements, according to McCoy.

Brunswick said the operations focus covers areas that directly affect a dealer’s bottom line.

“For many of our dealers, the cost of employee medical and dental coverage, business insurance, payroll administration, office supplies and wholesale financing … to name a few … represent a significant expense,” McCoy added. “As part of the Brunswick dealer network, participants in Dealer Advantage can become eligible to receive discounts on all of these products, and many more, from leading suppliers.”

“Providing more benefits is a sure way for dealers to attract and retain good employees,” McCoy said. “Through Dealer Advantage, children of dealers’ employees will be eligible to apply for scholarships from the Brunswick Foundation through an established program that has already invested $8 million to educate our future leaders. Further, dealers and their employees will have access to retirement and estate planning services to secure their future.”

“Giving customers a great boat buying and owning experience is the goal of all Brunswick dealers,” McCoy noted. “Dealer Advantage offers several tools to better serve buyers, including access to more retail financing options, insurance coverage and extended warranties, all of which are designed to close more sales.”

Brunswick said it expects that by using all of Dealer Advantage’s elements, which are designed to work for all sizes and types of dealers, the average dealer can significantly improve bottom-line results. The more dealers participate, the more they can benefit, the company stated.

“What we are announcing today with Dealer Advantage will serve as the foundation upon which we will build even better manufacturer/dealer relations, and we’re just beginning,” McCoy said. “In the coming months, we will be meeting with our dealers around the country to discuss the specific features of Dealer Advantage. We view this as the launch of a new business model for dealer/manufacturer relationships … a new and exciting way to do business.”

“Our premise is simple. If we provide our dealers with a business partnership that makes them more money, they will grow their businesses and, in turn, we will grow ours as well,” McCoy said. “In the end, we believe the ultimate winner is the consumer, who will enjoy a better boat buying and ownership experience. Attracting and keeping people in boating is certainly the goal of our entire industry.”

Brunswick Dealer Advantage partners include: ADP, Arthur J. Gallagher, AXA Equitable, Blue Water Finance, Boater’s Choice, CDW, Grubb & Ellis, Sprint, Staples, US Bank and UPS.

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