Peter GranataBy Peter Granata, president, Granata Design and the Marine Design Resource Alliance — December 17 is National Regifting Day. For those of you not familiar with the practice of regifting it is described as the act of taking a gift that has been received and giving it to somebody else, sometimes in the guise of a new gift.

To paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy, If this sounds like something that you might have on your floor plan, you might be a boat dealer.

Finance companies have been “regifting” inventory from dealers that have fallen on hard times, thereby virtually drying up much of the production of brand new boats from manufacturers.

Now comes the ripple effect. At some point the current inventory in dealer’s yards will give way to this year’s “new” product directly from the boat manufacturer. Question: How different do you think it will be from the “regifted” boats that are selling at heavily discounted prices?One unfortunate repercussion from this economic upheaval will be that much of the “new” product will look very much like the old product throughout the next year. Product is always expected to drive sales. This time it’s different.

If we’re going to get out of this slump, we’re going to have to rely upon the dealer organizations to sell our way out of it. The real salesmen of our industry will have to stand up and defend our future. They are the cavalry, but as in any good fight one would hope reinforcements are on the way. Dealers want to make darn sure that their manufacturer is preparing some solid products to be introduced in the very near future. And please, no regifting. Saleable product has to be either inexpensive or unique, a successful product has to be both.

After everything a dealer will go through during the upcoming selling season, he’s going to need the next round of new product to fit the new demands of the changing consumer. Smaller outside, larger inside, fuel efficient, towable, cost effective, and most of all, unique. Unique, because the customer is smart enough to know regifting when he sees it.

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