Southport Boats launches ‘Floor Plan Free’ program

LELAND, N.C. - Southport Boats recently introduced its 2011 “Floor Plan Free” buying program, which it says is designed to reduce field inventory and eliminate associated floor plan risk and expense to dealerships.

The program eliminates stocking requirements for dealerships and gives incentive for a single demonstration model. A selection of the company’s entire model line will be available for customers to see and sea trial by visiting the plant in Leland, N.C., on Southeastern North Carolina’s coast. The program is designed to minimize field inventory and encourage factory-ordered boats, which Southport says will reduce pricing competition among dealerships.

“The flight of major floor plan lenders from the marine market has left hundreds of excellent dealerships with loyal customer bases but without credit facilities for new product,” Frank Longino, CEO of Southport Boats, said in a release. “This fact, combined with reduced market demand makes the traditional field inventory business model obsolete and unsustainable. Our Buying Program is the opposite of the traditional “Free floor plan” model designed to maximize field inventory at the dealer level."

The 2011 Southport Buying Program allows non-stocking dealerships to purchase ordered product at a dealer net price. Dealerships may order a demonstrator boat and qualify for an additional 5 percent discount on all other boats they order.

“We’ve found local banks willing to finance a single demonstration model, enabling dealerships to qualify for our maximum discounts without having to deal with floor plan requirements that are onerous if available at all," Longino said. “Over the past two years, we have succeeded in reducing the Southport field inventory by 87 percent to literally a handful of boats. This puts Southport in the unique position to be able to convert to a business model that eliminates the floor plan company element."

Southport builds four models of sport fishing boats from 26 to 28 feet.

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