Genmar to launch fiberglass fishing boat line

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Genmar Holdings has changed its plans to re-enter the aluminum boat market and will instead begin offering a new line of fiberglass fishing boats designed to compete with aluminum boat brands, Genmar Chairman Irwin L. Jacobs reported in a letter to the company’s dealers this week.

Jacobs explained that when he announced in September that Genmar was considering re-entering the aluminum boat business, “I didn’t tell you … that our VEC Technology engineers, in conjunction with the boat engineers at our VEC boat factory in Little Falls, Minnesota, have been working for quite some time on developing a new fiberglass boat that capitalizes on all the benefits of our patented VEC Technology and, at the same time, would be able to set a new higher standard in building the finest and most competitively-priced fiberglass boats for the entry-level fishing boat market.”

While Genmar has been working on this new VEC boat concept over the past year, it didn’t expect to have what Jacobs called “the early break-through success we’ve recently experienced” for another year.

Given that development, Genmar plans to introduce its first 17-foot VEC fiberglass entry-level fishing boat in time to ship it to its dealers for the early 2009 spring selling season, Jacobs wrote.

The company plans to unveil this first model in its new line, called “FinCraft,” at the Minneapolis Boat Show later this month. The model will include as standard equipment a 50 HP two-stroke outboard engine, trailer, MinnKota trolling motor, and Lowrance depth finder, according to Jacobs. Its design will include “a high-styled interior layout capable of fishing for five people, he added. The nationally advertised selling price in the U.S. and Canada (the price in Canada will be adjusted to Canadian currency in exchange to the U.S. Dollar) will be $13,995, plus freight and prep. In addition, Genmar will offer a $1,000 introductory cash rebate (to be funded by both FinCraft and dealers) to the retail boat buying consumer during the winter and early spring shows, Jacobs reported.

“I believe that our new FinCraft 17-foot fiberglass boat, along with its standard features and incredibly low pricing, will bring in and keep many more people in family boating and fishing,” he wrote. “We all know times are challenging and that people are truly looking for affordability and real value, that may also include downsizing as well as looking for an easy entry-level trailerable package.”

Jacobs also suggested that the new 17-foot FinCraft model will carry “a stronger and more comprehensive warranty compared to all other aluminum and fiberglass
entry-level boats – a limited lifetime warranty that is also transferable to the second owner.”

Genmar targets aluminum boat market

“Obviously, with this announcement of launching our new FinCraft line of fiberglass
entry-level fishing boats, Genmar won’t be re-entering the aluminum boat business,” Jacobs stated in the letter. “Rather, it is our intention to capture the market share of the aluminum segment of the entry-level boating market segment with our new FinCraft line of boats.”

Genmar intends to offer its new fishing boat line to existing Genmar dealers currently servicing and offering entry-level aluminum and/or fiberglass fishing boats, he stated.

“Where we believe there isn’t an existing Genmar dealer in the market that sells either entry-level aluminum or fiberglass fishing boats, we are planning on offering our new line of FinCraft entry-level fishing boats to existing successful Lund, Crestliner, Lowe, Tracker, Alumacraft and G3 boat dealers,” he added.

“We truly do believe that our VEC and Little Falls boat company engineers have created a 21st century boating industry breakthrough that will ultimately replace the present entry-level aluminum and fiberglass boat products not only in the U.S. and Canada but for all of the other entry-level retail boat markets throughout the world,” he concluded.

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