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Bump's World - August 2017
August 7, 2017

STATE OF THE BOAT INDUSTRY

I just returned from the Hanse Group dealer meeting in Germany. Hanse is tied with Bavaria for the second largest boat builder in the world. Hanse is bigger in sail and Bavaria is bigger in power. At the meeting there was a big presentation on the state of boat building.

The Beneteau Group continues to be the largest boat builder in the world by a lot. This group includes Jeanneau. Both Beneteau and Jeanneau have expanded their powerboat lines and that is where all their growth is. Both companies build more powerboats than sailboats.

For the first time, powerboat sales in Europe have surpassed sailboat sales. In America powerboat sales represent 95% of the boat business. Both Europe and America are showing growth of about 6% per year in powerboat sales. The dollar volume of powerboat sales is approaching per 2008 levels with the unit sales still about 30% behind.

Overall sailboat unit sales are flat in both Europe and North America. Dollar volume sales are up about 5%. European built boats continue to expand their market share of the North American business. The Hanse Group had a 20% growth in North America. Again this is a result of less numbers of North American built boats.

After a dramatic drop in sales in 2008, Hanse Group is once again showing a profit with dollar volumes equal to 2007, their largest year. Unit volumes are still about 20% behind. Sales of bigger yachts are showing all the growth. In 2016, Hanse built as many 575s as 315s. Hanse is the number 1 sailboat builder in the world in the 55 to 60 range and 45 to 50. They sold over 100 Hanse 455s last year. That’s huge.

Like America, Germany is not overly friendly to fiberglass laminating. This is due to the styrene chemicals used in the process. Hanse has moved all their laminating to a new factory they built in Poland.

Poland is about a 2 hour drive. The laminated pieces show up at the factory where the boats are assembled. Germany is very friendly to businesses located in what used to be East Germany. Unemployment is high there, so Germany is working to make the old East Germany up to the standard of living in West Germany. Hanse is the largest employer in Grieswald, Germany with 1300 employees.

The German government has helped Hanse get low interest, long term financing to invest in modern boat building equipment. This reduces the man hours in construction and at the same time increases the quality. Like the auto industry the goal is to provide a better product and a better price.

In America we do not have a Poland and the builders have no volume to make the building process efficient. At Hanse your job might be putting engines in Hanse 575s. That would be all you do. You get very good at doing that. In America, you put an engine in one day and the sink another. You work on different models all the time. You are constantly trying to remember the job you are doing today.

90% of all new sailboats over 30 feet sold in the world are built by Hanse, Beneteau, and Baveria. There are many other companies fighting for a very small piece of the market.

These 3 big builders are fighting each other for market share. This makes the pricing extremely competitive. Also the strong US dollar makes the pricing here even better.

At New Wave Yachts we are very happy to represent Hanse and Dehler and represent a modern, profitable, successful boat builder.

Please mail comments to me at Bump@newwaveyachts.com
Bump Wilcox