I am not what is often referred to as a “politically correct” guy so I am wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas…not a vanilla “Happy Holidays.” If perchance my Christmas greeting makes you uncomfortable, what can I say, except to point out that Christmas is what the December 25th holiday is all about.
I also wish everyone a Happy New Year. And we all hope that 2010 will be a happy year. All of us involved in this industry hope and pray that this upcoming year will be much better than 2009. Frankly, I am enough of an optimist to believe that it will be better based on my 50 years of involvement in the marine industry. I have seen several recessions come and go over the years. The economy and the marine industry have always rebounded from the downturns and this one will be no different. It will come back… and I think we will see it rebound in 2010.
No question this has been the worst recession we have seen since the great depression. And I think the rebound from it will probably be a bit slower than in previous recessions… but it will come back. However, I do believe that the industry as we have known it will no longer exist. It is changing and will continue to change. Those that can anticipate the changes and adapt to them will survive and succeed. I believe there will be fewer dealers and manufacturers and both will have to modify how they do business. Dealers will need to be more selective of the brands they carry, stock fewer boat and motor lines, and focus more on niche markets. They and boat builders both should also put more emphasis on entry-level rigs to attract young families into the sport of boating. And I believe manufacturers will need to work more in partnership with their dealers, not push them to stock large inventories, and even help them with floor plans and inventory costs.
That said, I hope all of you who have survived this past year will have a chance to kick back over the next couple of weeks and enjoy Christmas and New Year’s with family and friends. Then we are all back to the grindstone to see how we can make 2010 better than 2009.
The blog will be back January 5, 2010. Until then, I again wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.