Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Pick Your Pack" Pre-Show Promotion Starts on Black Friday!

Black Friday would be incomplete without a boat sale!

So Karma Yacht Sales has put together several comprehensive incentive packages that give you reasons to order a boat BEFORE the boat show. These packages are designed to give new boat buyers a choice of things like electronics, dodgers and biminis, or even cash at closing - up to $15,000!!

To Read more about the Pick Your Pack Promotion...
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Renewed Emphasis on the Big Boat Shows

Beneteau’s new manufacturing efficiency will help achieve the intended effect of helping their dealers keep their overhead costs down. This will also benefit Beneteau by reducing the amount of boats that are built without an owner, but it will also benefit the customer because lower dealer overhead means lower prices on the boats we sell .
The changes in buying patterns by customers has led to all sailboat (and powerboat) dealers stocking far fewer boats and models than they have in the past. Drive by any new automobile dealer today and you tend to see a lot more vacant pavement, much more than ever before. The auto dealers were forced to adapt to survive under the new banking and credit realities, and the boating industry has been forced to adopt a similar strategy.
While the economy has obviously necessitated that the mode of business had to change, smart manufacturers and dealers also realized that there was very little benefit to carrying too much inventory. It costs a significant amount of capital to stock eight or nine boats at one time. In most cases, these were boats that a dealer owned and, as such, there was interest that had to be paid until these boats were sold. That no longer remains a viable position for any dealer to be in, and no one- buyer, dealer, or builder benefits from having too many boats sitting at the factory or at a dealership.

While the perception may be that a better price can be negotiated if there are more boats, or that one needs to see, touch, and feel every model, it is no longer possible for either the manufacturer or the dealer to survive in that mode of operation. The internet has made it much easier to shop larger models that dealers may not stock. In fact, you can access any of Beneteau’s models with a few clicks of a mouse, giving you a wealth of information, pictures, and virtual tours of all their boats.
Boat Shows: Quality, Not Quantity

We are already seeing a re-emphasis on the big, regional and national boat shows. Shows like Strictly Sail Chicago (January), Strictly Sail Fort Lauderdale (February), Strictly Sail Pacific (April), and the Annapolis Sailboat Show (October) are once again becoming the few places where sailing enthusiasts will be able to see and compare the majority of the new sailboat models available. Manufacturers throughout the industry have fewer dollars to allocate towards boat shows and they are picking and choosing more carefully which shows to attend. The smaller, local In-Water summer/fall shows are going to see that it is getting harder for these same builders - and the dealers - to justify the expense of these shows. Shows are expensive for dealers, as they always require dealers to have boats in stock at a time of year when the dealer is hoping to have sold all the current models and is planning their fall/winter stocking needs. Then, the dealer needs to arrange for transportation to get the boats to the venue, and hotels for their staffs, and many other expenses that all go along with the production of the show.
Following are some interesting excerpts from a recent article covering this topic. The comments were made by the president of the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (who control and put on many of the largest shows in the USA, including all of the Strictly Sail Shows):
“Today, there are simply too many boat shows”. That’s what NMMA president Thom Dammrich said at the National Marine Bankers Association annual conference. He noted that manufacturers are looking for new business models, among them “cutting back boat shows from the 300 that now take place throughout the USA every year to perhaps 30,” he said. “They are expensive and often don’t return to exhibitors a good return on investment. Ninety percent of boat shows need to go away,” he added. Maybe 30 isn’t the number - maybe it’s 60, or 90, but it clearly shouldn’t be the 300 we have now.

“It’s not unusual, for example, for a dealer to be in six or seven shows a year. That’s a very big expense for that dealer, and they struggle to get a good return on their investment (ROI) from participating in so many shows. When they can’t do it, they blame all shows. The fact is, dealers should do one or two shows a year-the dominant ones in the market”.

“What should be left is an industry stable of large shows in large, centralized boating centers. Every area dealer would display, and the attendees would travel to them because that is all there is. Moreover, in the scenario, it will be necessary for manufacturers to provide more resources — financial and product — to the dealers in these shows. Fewer shows will mean manufacturers will support them better, which will mean better shows. There is nothing inherently wrong with boat shows or their ability to provide ROI - except there are just too many”.

What we expect over the next few years is that the organizers for some of the smaller shows will combine shows, and others will probably decide to eliminate some shows altogether. But the positive effect will be that the bigger, well-attended shows will receive even more emphasis, and will remain as an important part of the process of researching and buying a boat. See you at the show. Strictly Sail Chicago is January 28-31, 2010.

Photos: 2009 United States Sailboat Show (October) - Full line of Beneteau models on display

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Factory Improvements: Thinking Ahead

The Marion, SC Beneteau plant undergoes its transformation

Beneteau USA is in the process of revamping its 250,000 square foot facility into the most modern big sailboat factory in America. The way boats used to be built has changed. Market demands have allowed Beneteau to reach the conclusion that to succeed in this new market, you have to be able to react faster. So the factory is being improved - from the original layout that included eight independent production lines - into a new, single line continuous flow production facility that will feature 20 operation positions. The end result of this new way of building will be a reduction in lead time for a boat that is ordered, less work in process during the manufacturing, and a greater flexibility in the model mix.

The Marion plant will be the only American sailboat plant able to build anything from 30 footers up to 50 footers, all in the same quick-flow process. While this may not seem like a big change to the majority, this is a big improvement for us because it will allow for a model to be built without having to wait for more orders of the same model to come in, which will not only speed up the process but will also prevent Beneteau from building too much/not enough of individual models and they will instead be able to react to the immediate and near-future demand.

Finally, it has been talked about but not really ‘announced’ by Beneteau, but they have also agreed to build two models for jeanneau (which the Beneteau Groupe has owned since 1996 after purchasing them out of bankruptcy) out of the USA plant in Marion, SC. While we were a bit surprised to hear this news, the new realities Beneteau faces in manufacturing makes this a smart move and actually will help the viability of the Beneteau brand while it will also keep the factory operating at a higher rate of efficiency. Beneteau models are still going to comprise 95% of the factory’s output, but the ability to keep the factory flowing and the skilled workers working is a smart, cost-effective move for Beneteau. It also makes sense for all of us: dealers, clients, and the Beneteau factory and their employees.

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Beneteau USA: Getting Greener, Getting Smarter

Beneteau USA displayed nine models at the Annapolis Sailboat Show in October. While all but one of these models have been in production for at least one year, the 2010 versions of these boats features some new ideas that should appeal to Beneteau fans. These items will help a new owner inject some personality into their new boat, and the response to these ideas has-so far-been very positive. Once again, Beneteau has enhanced the value of their offerings.

  • Lightly-colored gel coat hulls are now available on the Beneteau 40, 43, 46, and 50. These hull colors are not the result of a paint job, as they were in the past, but are simply color pigments that are mixed into the gel coat before it is sprayed into the hull mold. The result is an attractive, softer color, but without the expense and repair issues often posed by paint. There are four different hull color choices, and nine striping color choices to choose from.
  • The interior gains another added dimension with the introduction of bed spreads, cabin and salon pillows, as these are now available as a Beneteau option.Three different color/pattern schemes are available.
  • LED lights will become standard on all boats in 2010.The interior lighting, which has been mainly halogen lighting for many years, will be replaced with LED lighting with a warm glow to them.LED lights burn cool (as opposed to hot halogen lights);LED lights also use less than 25% of the power necessary for halogen lights, and LED lights can last up to ten times the lifetime of halogen or regular bulb lighting.This will also positively affect the battery draw from the boats on-board power system, as the LED lighting will greatly reduce the consumption from the batteries.

  • Another significant change is the addition of some popular options that are now included as standard features-at a fraction of their original cost. For some time now, dealers have ordered certain options on nearly every boat-options that the majority of our customers were seemingly always selecting when buying or ordering a new boat. Beneteau’s production capabilities allow them to include many of these options for a cost that is much less than they were individually. The result is more value at less cost.

Something else Beneteau has done recently is to add equipment to their factory. In spring, 2009, a new CNC machinery-driven wood-cutting machine was added to the factory floor. This machine has amazing precision, and it is capable of cutting perfect wood parts for many Beneteau models-new and old. Until now, Beneteau’s only wood factory was located in St. Hillare de Rez, France, and has produced all the wood for every Beneteau. Having a machine here in the USA will help keep costs down, cut down on parts-order delays, and it will eventually allow for faster production of new boats at the US factory in Marion, SC. And the resulting parts will have a greatly-reduced carbon footprint.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Buying a Sailboat in the FALL?

With the changing of the leaves comes the plan for next season's sailing

OK, it’s getting cold, snow and the holidays are on the way, sailing season is an eternity away, and the water is going to be hard soon. Time to curl up in front of the fireplace and watch the Bears in the Super Bowl - wait - that was long ago, wasn’t it? Anyway, it’s winter in Chicago, and sailing is out of sight and mind for now (as is an appearance by the Bears in the Super Bowl this year).

So who in their right mind wants to think about buying a new boat in November or December? Anyone who is seriously looking for a great deal on a new Beneteau and wants to ensure that they will have a new boat in time for spring is who. This is an ideal time to be picking colors and options for your new Beneteau, and is so for several reasons.

It is no secret that the boat business has been a bit slower than normal this year because of that little bump in the economy. Because of decreased demand for new boats, manufacturers have adjusted production schedules to keep inventory levels manageable and to keep fresh product in the marketplace, which is a good thing for consumers. The other side of that coin which comes into play for 2010 new boat buyers is that availability could become an issue. If the decision to buy is put off until next spring, you might find yourself waiting till after the sailing season is off and running. Fewer boats coming out of the Beneteau factory in Marion, SC means that there is a need to plan more in advance if you are planning to take delivery of a new Beneteau next spring. While it used to be common to order a new boat before March and have it delivered by May, that may not work this year. Depending on the model, an early order will give you peace of mind throughout the winter with the knowledge and assurance that your new Beneteau will be ready to sail when you are.

There are also financial considerations as well as timing issues that make buying now a wise decision. In years past Beneteau offered substantial incentives to buy at boat shows. Their boat show specials usually consisted of electronics packages that were included at no charge if a boat was purchased during a boat show. These packages were worth several thousand dollars and made it very worthwhile to order a boat at the boat shows. This year, however, Beneteau has made the decision that the boat show specials will not be offered.

So Karma Yacht Sales has put together several comprehensive incentive packages that give you reasons to order a boat BEFORE the boat show. These packages are designed to give new boat buyers a choice of things like electronics, dodgers and biminis, or even cash at closing - up to $15,000!!

To learn more about the "Karma Yacht Sales Pick Your Pack~ Pre-Show Promotion" and how you can take advantage of this limited time offer, go to our web site - Pick Your Pack
 or call us at 773-254-0200 for details

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