Although small, the wake segment has recovered more quickly than other parts of the segment and is getting plenty of attention. Boating Industry talked to Bill Yeargin, president and CEO of Correct Craft, parent company of Nautique Boat Company, one of the biggest players in that segment. Correct Craft also recently acquired the PCM and Crusader engine brands, increasing its foothold.
Yeargin shared his thoughts on the towboat segment, the boating market as a whole and the future of Nautique. Look for the full Q&A in the January issue of Boating Industry.
Boating Industry: The wake segment continues to be strong. Why has this segment recovered better than others?
Yeargin: First, it really depends on how you describe strong. The wake segment is just over 50 percent of where it was before the recession and is a small overall piece of the boating market. We have about a dozen brands fighting over about 7,000 units. People in the overall boating industry often mention how well they think the wake segment is doing and it is doing better than it was but it is still much smaller than we were, and there are a lot of good brands fighting for that business.
The segment has, however, recovered better than some others and I think there are two good reasons for that. First, we have a very loyal and active customer base. Wake sports are an important part of their lifestyle. Secondly, the companies in our segment have all done a good job developing new product which we all know attracts buyers.
Boating Industry: What’s your outlook for the segment in 2015? For the marine industry as a whole?
Yeargin: Jonathan, I wish I had a crystal ball… The industry now has a few years of growth and we all expect it to continue. However, I do not see any dramatic growth on the horizon. Just slow steady growth. For our segment the latest information says the growth rate is slowing down. It is still growing but at a slower rate.
Boating Industry: What’s next for the towboat market? What are some of the product features we can expect to see in the near future?
Yeargin: The collective towboat segment has always been near the forefront of our overall industry in innovation and I expect it will stay that way. Our Nautique team has an exciting five-year development plan and I know we will stay focused on innovation and new product. For a bunch of reasons I am going to dodge your question on specific product features but I can say there is good reason to expect continued innovation; the future is bright!
Boating Industry: Correct Craft made some big news recently with the PCM and Crusader acquisitions. What drove that decision?
PCM and Crusader are premier brands with a great legacy, outstanding product and a remarkable management team. They have a culture that is consistent with Correct Craft, Nautique and Aktion Parks. We believe we have tremendous potential working together as we have been for nearly four decades.”
As with all of our companies we want to continuously improve. However, there are things we never want to change, such as culture. PCM and Crusader are consistent with our culture and at this time there are no plans to change location or management of either company.