The economic crisis has hit the world’s biggest yachting market – the United States – particularly hard, resulting in a large number of bankruptcy claims and restructuring efforts. Some major manufacturers have literally fallen off the charts, while others have had to axe some of their brands and models. Despite an improvement in Canadian sales figures last year, there continue to be a lot of big changes. Here’s a list of the brands that sunk in 2013.
Sea-Doo opts out of jet boat market
Much like the high-performance market, the jet boat segment has been hit the hardest in recent years. Several factors, including the steadily increasing price of models and their high fuel consumption, have caused buyers to shy away from jet boats. This prompted BRP – which had been making a wide range of models since 1994 – to halt production of all its jet boats and put all of its energy into its line of personal watercraft instead. In an even more surprising move, Sea Ray has returned to the jet boat market with the introduction of the 2013 210 Jet. We’re left scratching our heads over that one!
Bayliner ceases production of cruisers
Brunswick Boat Group has been struggling with major restructuring for the past few years. For 2013, they announced that the company was pulling the plug on its Bayliner cruisers. In all, this move slashes eight models from the catalogue. The manufacturer plans to focus on small models instead, while staying the course with its primary mission: offering high-value entry-level boats. This decision leaves the market to Sea Ray, Brunswick’s top brand for cruisers.
Mainship now under Marlow Yachts
Trawler lovers will be saddened to hear that the Trawler brand has been sold. Marlow Yachts, which also recently acquired Hunter sailboats, has bought Mainship. The company plans to jumpstart production by adding a few models built at the Marlow Yachts assembly plant in Florida. For 2013, there will be just one model on offer, the M32 Pilot House. The manufacturer plans to increase the line to four models within two years.
Doral closes up shop
The darling of Quebec’s nautical industry took a real beating during the 2007 recession. Previously, the company benefitted from a favourable exchange rate to rival foreign companies for sales within Canada. But with the rise of the Canadian dollar, this advantage plummeted, and Doral was bought by one of its largest dealerships a few years ago. After several attempts to revive the company, the manufacturer found itself again applying for bankruptcy protection last year. There is no indication that production will resume. That’s too bad, because we’ve rarely come across owners who were disappointed in Doral products.