The Conference Board last week reported that the recession is “losing steam.” Moreover, they project that a slow recovery should begin by the end of the year.
If you look at our industry sales figures, you’d have to say this recession seems far from over. But, it will end and there are many who point to signs that it could be sooner than later.
It’s the “right stuff” in a bad situation! That’s the bottom line of MRAA president Phil Keeter’s announcement that the association will serve as a catalyst to bring together Genmar dealers.
The time has come for the marine industry as a whole to adopt a consumer’s Bill of Rights. So said the BoatU.S. “Consumer Protection Bureau” in a recent article in the BoatU.S. Magazine distributed to its 600,000 members.
We may be in bad economic times, but these are very good times for local marine trade associations (MTAs) to be going after desired legislation and regulatory changes in their respective states.
Green marketing has been all the rage, at least until now. However, under the pressure of a continuing bad economy, no one seems sure whether “going green” may be showing signs of wilting.
Certainly the signals are mixed, but it’s refreshing to see there is definitely more positive than negative economic news these days.
Remember the early days of online video? It took forever to download a short clip. It came up only in a small window and the sound was lousy. “Forget it,” we would grumble as we moved on rather than wait.
Genmar’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection has shocked most of our industry. It shouldn’t have. Sure, most of us would probably have listed Genmar very low on our list of most-likely to go bankrupt. But, the shock comes more from its dramatization of how vulnerable our industry is, rather than over Genmar’s actual proceedings.
Had two of my grandsons (ages 4 and 2) on the boat last Saturday. What a great day we shared. We swam, walked the beach, found shells, a couple of snails and even caught a small fish.
I don’t know a dealer who hasn’t had to slash his ad budget these days. But that doesn’t necessarily mean disappearing from sight. For a small, sometimes zero investment, dealers can bring back a classic way of grabbing people’s attention – the good old publicity stunt!
Impulse shopping (shopping for fun) at the mall appears to have headed south as consumers become stand-offish in the current recession. But, shopping center operators around the country aren’t taking it lightly. They’re aggressively trying to bring it back with concepts we can adapt from these big guys for our dealerships.
I was surprised when it was reported that credit unions we’re being found to have “strayed” into some of those hyper-risk ventures that have already taken down a bunch of banks, with more likely to crash and burn before it’s all over.
Regardless of who or what you read these days, virtually everyone agrees business is being permanently changed by this brutal recession.
Why do I keep coming back to the subject of ethanol? Because it’s that important to us and our customers! And, I really don’t like what I’m seeing lately.
No doubt about it . . . these days, bankers are as popular as jock itch! But, before you put all bankers in that same group you should know that at least one set of bankers has been diligently working to develop a program aimed at stimulating new sources of lending for boating.
These days, if you want to find someone who is likely worse off than you are, make friends with an RV dealer. The industry that we once looked on with envy as flying high with its “Go RVing” campaign, and after which we patterned much of our industry’s national “Discover Boating” campaign, is taking its [...]
I went out to pick the morning paper out of the bushes (why is it no delivery person can ever fling it from their moving vehicle and hit the driveway?) There at my front door was a small cinnamon Teddy Bear refrigerator magnet with a note attached.
I’ve always been amazed at how often nothing short of a crisis is needed to produce changes that logically should have happened outside the context of desperate times. Case in point: Brunswick’s announcement last week that it will move the intro date for 2010 models to September (the industry standard at one time).
Ethanol manufacturers (54 of them) have formed a lobbying organization called Growth Energy that has filed a petition with EPA to permit an increase in the ethanol content of gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent (E10 to E15). It’s now time for the marine industry and all boat owners to push EPA to deny Growth Energy’s [...]
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it: “Never waste a good crisis.” If you know anything about Netanyahu, a decorated soldier in the Israeli Army, you would likely assume he was referring to some incident in Israel. He was not.
Alaska. It’s the state with the most coast line . . . the most salmon . . . and now, perhaps, the most interesting legislation affecting manufacturer-dealer relationships.
“It’s a man’s world” . . . or so the saying goes. Maybe it was, but it’s doesn’t seem so anymore. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, it’s estimated that men will soon be in the minority. Specifically, between 2008 and 2013, males will account for just 49 percent of the nation’s population!
Those of you who regularly read this blog know of my disappointment that the “Discover Boating” national ad campaign was dry docked this winter, a victim of the current economy. I believe in that program and look for it to come back ASAP!
How things can change! Less than a year ago, gasoline prices were soaring and so were the fortunes of the corn-based ethanol producers. In addition, the Bush administration had just mandated a steady increase in the annual production of ethanol to 36 billion gallons per year by 2022. If you were a corn farmer or [...]
Oh, oh! Seems there’s been a slight miscalculation on the financial sector bailout plan. Go figure! According to the March report from the Congressional Budget Office, we taxpayers will have to cough up about $167 billion more than originally announced.
In this day and age, almost all dealers have a Web site working for them, or should have. After all, it’s an important 21st century vehicle for stimulating business. Or, is it?
Boat sales may not, yet, be rockin’ in the Wolverine State, but the Michigan Boating Industry Association is steppin’ out when it comes to the pursuit of favorable legislation for its members.
I want to talk about someone who is among those in our industry I most admired. Indeed, I was also proud to call him a friend.
Things are still ugly out there, of course. But, when we look for some positive news these days, seems we can find some. And, I think we’re finding it more often now, and that encourages me.
There are no dealers who have escaped the turmoil of the current economic downturn. As a result, it’s pretty safe to assume most dealers have made substantial, if not total, cuts in their marketing budgets. It seems there must be some law that says when cash flow is tight, budgets for marketing are the first [...]
The marine industry is putting on a full-court-press to get assistance from Washington that will unlock floorplan and consumer credit, even while President Obama announced yesterday the freeing up of billions for small business.
Feel like you’re up to your butt in alligators? As the owner or manager of a dealership or marina in this economic climate, the old gag — “It’s lonely at the top, but you eat better” – may apply to you (and I can’t be sure about the “eat better” part these days!).
Having trouble keeping track of the trillions supposedly flowing from Washington to “help” us? Me, too. Why there’s TARP I and TARP II, the huge Stimulus package, the giant Budget, the grand Porkulus appropriation bill and who knows what else. And, now, along comes TALF! (I think I hear Abba singing “Feel the beat of [...]
Almost overnight, people stopped spending the way we’d come to know. For the past 30 years, as the U.S. economy was generally growing, so did our appetite for buying everything in sight! But late last summer there was an abrupt reversal. Since then, even the “wealthy” have cut back on their buying.
If we can wish for anything good to come from this deep recession, it should be less boats! No, I’m not talking about less boat sales, just a lot less models.
In his address to Congress Tuesday evening, President Obama pushed the subject of energy independence back into the spotlight.. So, you can bet that lots of federal dollars are about to be handed out to all sorts of energy-related projects and pilot programs.
When there’s a void, someone is likely to fill it, right? Sir Richard Branson is a case in point. The mastermind of Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Records and just about everything else Virgin is also a leader in a relatively new, fast-growing online business called peer-to-peer lending. You guessed it — Virginmoney.com
Right now, we Americans may be hunkered down and feeling uncertain about the near future, but we’re still Americans. We haven’t lost, even for a moment, our clear vision of the good life – translation: the American dream.
As you read this today, President Obama will be signing the $787 billion stimulus package. For boating, there’s not much good news and some bad.
It’s likely to be fourth down and goal to go from inside the 10 yard line for some manufacturers and dealers when the Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail open today. For those in that unfortunate position, a lack of scoring with significant orders from this show may be handing them a loss in [...]
I just spoke with a good friend and colleague, Dave Geoffroy, Executive Director of the Southern California Marine Association. I wanted to know how the opening weekend of his Los Angeles Boat Show had gone.
Something curious is happening at our boat shows. Dealers are reporting two unexpected results in addition to better than anticipated attendance. They are: (1) small boats are drawing more interest and selling better than large boats, and (2) it appears dealers are talking to more new people than old prospects and customers.
I know what you’re thinking – not the old “follow up” pitch again! But, with our major winter boat shows well underway and, happily, doing much better than expected, a study of trade shows by the Center for Exhibition Research (CER) should give us some heartburn.
I want to encourage you with good news about the federal stimulus package passed in the U.S. House yesterday. I want to, but I can’t!
And Little Red Riding Hood said: “What big eyes you have, Grandma.” The wolf, pretending to be granny, answered: “All the better to see you with!”
We’re now three weeks into the industry’s winter boat show season, and among the descriptions now coming out of them is: “better than expected.”
A new chapter in American history clocks in at noon on the steps of the nation’s capitol. Barack Obama is our 44th President amid enormous fanfare, eagerness and optimism.
When the Cleveland Boat Show (which I managed for many years) opens tomorrow, Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel will take off behind her radio-controlled ski boat to the applause of hundreds and the delight of local TV news crews. It happens every year, because Twiggy has been an ever-popular attraction in Cleveland since 1986.
It seems to me that sharing inventory is something we have needed to do more consistently as retailers for a long time. Moreover, current market conditions lead me to believe it could be even more important and beneficial now.