Jacobs suggests floorplan financing solution

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Genmar Holdings Inc. Chairman Irwin Jacobs wrote a letter to the industry this week suggesting a solution to its consumer and floorplan financing troubles.

“If something isn’t done very soon (and I mean soon) to help correct the boat dealer floor plan and retail financing problem in the U.S., it is conceivable that the entire recreational boating industry could be critically damaged for decades ahead,” he wrote.

Jacobs proposed that if the U.S. Government required GMAC, to which it has given over $100 billion of taxpayer’s money, to serve the boating industry’s financing needs, “I believe the recreational boating industry would see an immediate end to the continuing downturn.”

“I don’t for a minute believe that a GMAC financing program for the recreational boating industry is going to single-handedly bring our industry back to where it was before the recession began, but I do believe that GMAC’s support will allow our industry to survive the present downturn and begin to show some life in the months ahead,” he explained in the letter. “I believe it will take a small fraction of the dollars that the U.S. Government gave to GMAC to support the wholesale and retail financing needs of the recreational boating industry.”

Then, Jacobs urged boat builders, dealers, industry vendors and their employees to lobby in favor of his proposal by writing and calling their state and federal representatives, sharing with them the hundreds of thousands of industry jobs that have already been lost due to “the worst economic downturn the industry has ever seen.”

The automotive industry has received the government’s help because the story of its devastation has been front and center, unlike the boating industry, he argued.

“No one seems to be telling our real life-threatening story to the Obama Administration, and if nothing is done very soon to correct the floor plan and retail financing problem for our industry, I predict it is only a short matter of time before what I call the boating industry’s life-threatening tsunami could put its final blow on the entire industry for decades ahead,” he wrote. “The reason the U.S. Government hasn’t paid any attention to our industry is that we’re not organized to speak loud enough. We’ve got to tell our story!”

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