Premier Pontoons introduced five new models during its dealer meeting this week, testing the lineup for the first time on Saturday, August 1.
“Our biggest and best dealer meeting ever was a resounding success,” said Premier President Lori Melbostad. “It was a high-energy weekend that made our staff proud to know that we have such a loyal network of dealers who were so excited to see what Premier has in store for 2016.”
The 2016 model year marks a significant changeover compared to previous years and Premier currently has 26 patents pending on the lineup.
“A model year switch is not usually this much of a change. Our product has a brand new look with a Dura Rail, all of the designs and the graphics are changed across the board and we feel like we have a product that stands out above, much different than anything anyone else has, so we’re very excited about that,” said Connie Weinman, sales and marketing coordinator at Premier Marine, Inc.
The Dura Rail ranges from a little over an inch wide on the entry-level models to a little over three inches on the high-end. On the high end, Premier introduced a new wide-rail lighting package.
Among the new models is the Dodici, which comes standard with Premier’s new 42-inch PTX package and is offered in a pub or cruise layout. The Dodici, Italian for “twelve,” is a 12-foot wide model, which Weinman says is an industry first. Weinman added that the 42-inch PTX gives Premier the opportunity to introduce a triple engine application for the first time to a recreational pontoon.
“Premier was the first to do a 10-foot wide, and now we’re the first to do a 12-foot wide and a triple application,” said Weinman.
At the dealer meeting, the Dodici was test driven with three 300 hp E-Tec G2 engines. With five passengers on board, the Dodici reached a top speed of 64 mph. Weinman said the new 42-inch PTX is almost 30 percent more buoyant than the 36-inch PTX. The combination of the triple engines and the hull design of the Dodici allow the pontoon to get bow lift with 22 passengers in the bow cruising at 20 mph.
Another major addition to the Premier product lineup is the Encounter, Premier’s cuddy cabin model that also uses a triple engine application. Because of the larger space provided by the 42-inch PTX, Premier is able to place the fiberglass piece of the interior cabin so it sits inside the center tube. Many of Premier’s pending patents are for this model.
“The Encounter is an industry first, completely new model of pontoon. There’s no other pontoon like it in the industry at all,” said Weinman. “A 6-foot-1-inch person can stand in the center of that tube and their head will not hit the top of that cabin, so it’s very spacious inside.”
On both the Dodici and Encounter, Premier is introducing its new furniture style with the Heritage Collection fabric. The fabric comes with a 7-year warranty and is Green Guard certified rated for marine use as a fabric, which Weinman says is a benefit because it does not use the chemicals found inside vinyl. The material is soft to the touch and utilizes climate control technology, so it does not burn the skin after sitting in the sun for an extended period of time.
A significant option on all of Premier’s 2016 models is the new Ricochet ladder, which is a self-retracting ladder using a swivel point. Premier’s engineers have been developing the ladder for two years and Weinman said Premier may introduce the ladder to the whole market, not just on Premier’s models.
“Everyone’s seen it happen: people are out boarding, they forget their ladder’s down, they take off on the lake and the ladder tears off or breaks or they’ve got their water spraying all over,” said Weinman. “With that forward momentum of the boat, the water pushes the bottom of that ladder, and once it gets back to a certain degree it has a pivot point on it so it actually retracts and comes up on its own.”
Additional product offerings
Premier is offering an Atomic Package on all of its new models for 2016, with the option to choose between atomic red and atomic blue. The new rail color incorporates in the interior of the boat and color-matched lighting on the exterior.
Premier also introduced the Velocity, which replaces the Grand Isle from the previous model year. The pontoon was restyled and a single fiberglass panel was added to the bow and stern. The Velocity features a Brow Chassie with the center tube longer than the outer tubes, which allow Premier to utilize the extra deck length for a higher horsepower rating. Consumers can choose their panel coloring and the fiberglass is matched, including the helm.
The SunSation Echo is Premier’s new entry-level dual helm model. This boat is the low-end answer to the S-Series, which includes a double windshield in the front. The SunSation Echo features new, shorter helms that allow the model to be at an entry-level price point, which is significant for the company as the SunSation is the No. 1 selling product for Premier, according to Weinman.
Premier enhanced the Escalante, Premier’s sky deck model. The walk-on upper deck now features a large stairway galley with a full door and walk-in bathroom, refrigerator, storage, wine caddy and wine cooler incorporated.
“You actually walk up into the center of the walk-on upper deck instead of the stairway coming over the top and the back,” said Weinman.
Premier used an app for their dealers at the meeting to take polls on which models they were most excited about, post photos and more.
“The app was awesome, from the map of the showroom and the dock to the activity feed of photos and more,” says Steve Chesky from Dan’s Southside Marine in Minneapolis. “It felt like our opinion really mattered to the Premier Marine staff. It was great to get other attendees opinions on the colors and models.”
Weinman said the dealer meeting generated a significant amount of buzz from those who were in attendance. All of Premier’s new innovations and designs were kept a secret from the dealer network prior to the launch.
“We’re pretty excited. It’s been a tremendous feedback from our dealer network, just seeing their faces,” Weinman said.
This story has been updated to include a photo of the 2016 Escalante. The photo was submitted by Paul Anderson.