Tag Archives: Surviving Tough Times

Dealer costs on a website???

The word on the street, which I have heard from sources all around the country, is that some former sales executives from the boating industry are starting a new website that will be publishing dealer costs for all brands of boats and motors. Huh?? What are they thinking?

I called one of the guys who I heard was involved in the website project and asked him for more information on it. He told me it would be a consumer research website very similar to  Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book in the auto industry. He said the website would feature boats, motors, motorcycles, ATVs and (later on) RVs. But manufacturers would not be able to sell their products directly to consumers. Consumers, however, will be able to search the website by product or brand. Consumers would also be able to locate a dealer and request a quote on the product they are interested in.

He also said that the website would have two prices on the boats and motors and other products they feature—the MSRP and dealer invoice. He added that some dealers they have contacted don’t like it, but others do. (I can’t imagine why a dealer would like it.)

My feeling is this—It is tough enough out there in the boat manufacturing and retailing trenches without some former execs trying to line their pockets at the expense of the industry. Here we are, struggling in the worst economy since the Great Depression, with an estimated 25% or more of dealers now out of business and predictions that another 20% are still in business but no longer selling new boats. I’ve also heard that those developing this website are claiming that publishing dealer costs will help the industry. As I said earlier, “Huh?? What are they thinking?” It is almost like WikiLeaks—potentially very damaging. Continue reading Dealer costs on a website???

When will consumer confidence and boat sales rebound?

Now that the election is over and the Republicans will again control the House and have gained a lot of seats in the Senate, all retailers are hoping that consumer confidence will come back. And hopefully it will rebound—fast. I am confident that it will rebound—it always has. But how soon and how fast I am not sure. According to the Conference Board, an index of consumer confidence rose in November to 54.1, up from 49.9 in October. That is the good news. However, 90 is where it should be so it shows that we still have a ways to go.

As one successful and well-known dealer said to me, “Consumer confidence seems to be the big issue for dealers everywhere. Like when the hell will we get some significant business again? And dealers everywhere are asking, ‘how do I order for the immediate and long term future based on current consumer confidence?’” Continue reading When will consumer confidence and boat sales rebound?

Some knew it was coming

My Dad predicted the current super recession. Knowing that, your next question to me should be, “Why ain’t you rich”.

The big problem with his prediction was that he started predicting it in the early 1960’s – or maybe even before that when I wasn’t listening. It still hadn’t really happened when he died in 1992. However, the perception that it could happen colored his economic activity all his life – mine, too probably. We had some near misses, but he always dismissed them as minor events compared to the coming of the real thing. Continue reading Some knew it was coming