Dealer Outlook

Trade Only Dealer Outlook Blog

Outboard model year elimination still uncomfortable

I am writing this week from the second of two major in-water boat shows presented on the Great Lakes. The first was at Michigan City (near Chicago) and, now, this show at Cedar Point (between Cleveland & Detroit.)  Today was opening day and as I walked the docks and land spaces it occurred to me that this is a “very good show” featuring an abundance of great boats on display. In fact, it’s the largest show here at Cedar Point in at least a decade. Now that I think about it, the same can be said about the Michigan City show that was held late last month.

Now, when I say “very good show” I mean the visiting public will be seeing a very large selection of boats, definitely many more than last year and that ought to turn visitors on. Then it hit me – they may not be very turned on when they discover they’re looking at last year’s models! Oh, yes, there are definitely some ‘08’s throughout the show. But there’s a very large number of ‘07’s in almost every exhibit. And that’s not good because it obviously means dealers are too heavy in non-currents and are hoping the boat show will be the vehicle to move them out. But that started me thinking; here is an opportunity for me to use this Blog to recognize good ideas manufacturers are using to help clear non-currents from the pipeline. So I started asking dealers for examples.

Sadly, only a couple reported help in the form of significant spiffs on certain models, etc. Most said their manufacturers offered little or no help with non-currents, not even a simple program that could shift inventory out of a market where it won’t move to another dealer in a market where it can.

It all leaves me with this interesting question: Should a manufacturer be obligated to help move non-currents out of a dealer’s inventory and, if so, how could that reasonably be accomplished by the manufacturer?

Comments

9 comments on “Outboard model year elimination still uncomfortable

  1. Doug Reimel

    The Manufacturers believe that the dealer is the customer not a partner. The manufactures put incentives on what they have in inventory. Incentives are never on what the dealer has in inventory. The boat business is not like anyother business in the world. The dealer is considered the bad apple the brings to light manufacturing and engineering flaws. My friend in the business of selling GM vehicles tells me that the GM incentives are based on what is on the dealers lot. GM understands that when the dealer sells what is on his lot the order more product. Boat and Outboard manufacturers partnering with the dealer to retail more product and satisfy the end user the public, is a great idea. But slightly in fantasy land.

  2. JACK DOLAN

    MY MAJOR BOAT SUPPLIER HAD A DEALER INVENTORY PROGRAM WHICH ALLOWED THE DEALER TO FIND INDIVIDUAL MODELS IN THE FIELD. IF I FELT I WAS OVERSTOCKED ON A MODEL I WOULD FIND A DEALER WHO WAS WILLING TO TRADE UNITS. THE BUILDER OWNED ALL THE BOATS [ BACKED BY GECC] IT WAS SIMPLE TO MAKE THE EXCHANGE. ITS TO EVERYONES BENEFIT TO BALANCE THE UNITS IN THE DEALERS STOCK. I DON’T THINK ITS A MATER OF OBLIGATION ON THE MANUFACTURERS PART ITS JUST GOOD BUSINESS. A DEALER SHOULDN’T WAIT TILL HE’S IN TROUBLE, THEY SHOULD REVIEW WEEKLY. JACK DOLAN, RETIRED

  3. William C. Vissing

    I have been involved with Dodge for about 30 years and I’ll tell you how much it helps to be able to locate what a customer wants when they want it. I find that most customer will wait a day or two for you to locate what they want but won’t wait 2 months for a new car or truck to be ordered from the manufacture. With the locate system I can see if any other dealer has it in stock and purchase it from them and sell to my coustomer helps keep my customer happy and I don’t loose them to a different brand or another dealer. Most dealer work with each other but you will find some that don’t so as they say “what goes around comes around” but you have to have the manufacture tell you where you can find what you need and I am sure they can put it on a web site for all there dealers

  4. mike evans

    the outboard industry are no different than the boat industry they could care less if you move old inventory, the sad thing is you have to take so many to be a dealer it seems to me that they are trying to weed out the small stores and have only super stores that way they sell more and less dealers. Prime example is bass pro shops ,you cant tell me that they pay the same intrest that i have to pay they dont have to worry about inventory like a independent has to. The market gets smaller every year do to the boat walmarts until somebody stands up for the little guy the little guy will go away just like the mom and pop stores mike evans owner lake harbour marine

  5. Phil Keeter

    Norm

    As MRAA understands the model year elimination by the engine mfgs there is not anymore non current inventory. That is why you didn’t find any programs to help a dealer move inventory.All the inventory is just the date of manufacture. What a sweet deal for engine mfgs! Lord knows how much inventory they may have stockpiled. The last two years of slow sales may have left them with huge inventories.

    Now how a dealer sells that to a customer when the boat has a current year mfg date and the engine has a manufacture date of last year or maybe even two years ago is beyond me. What do you say to the customer? If the dealer had some incentives that he could pass on to the customer it would certainly help.

    Think how bad this problem will be when we start the winter boat show season. Customers will be beating up on dealers for price considerations.

    It would seem to me that a dealer ,in the future, must demand matched product when he orders. Year of mfg must be the same.

  6. Jim Strock

    Moving non currents within the dealer network is certainly not a new concept to the industry, but not as widely accepted as it should be. We “dealer traded” boats through the 80′s & 90′s predominately with contacts obtained thru the 20 group the dealership belonged. The trade worked because the marketing areas were so spread out the element of competition didn’t enter into the equation. To have this accomplished at the manufactures level would work for ALL concerned. Implementation could prove to be a challange between high and low volume dealers but none the less it warrants attention. As we all know strong dealers ARE the heartbeat of this industry. Good to see Cedar Point on the rebound !

  7. Pete Peterson

    World Cat has all inventory posted on its dealer website and dealers regularly take other dealers boats to meet delivery times or find a less expensive boat to meet a buyers needs. This has resulted in the lowest inventory levels in history for the company. The problem arises when dealers do not take care of their inventory and try to stick another dealer with a boat that has been used and abused by the dealership. We are working to resolve that situation. As far as the motor model year designation, I had an instance this past Spring with the State of Louisiana. Where they now have gone to date of manufacture for both boats and motors. A customer bought a 2007 model manufactured in October of 2006 and LA in all its wisdom issued a title for a 2006 boat. Naturally the customer thought the dealer and we had ripped him off. We advised him to pack his bags quickly and leave the state of confusion. Pete Peterson, World Cat

  8. TIGHE CURRAN

    Norm — As you know, the Michigan City In-Water Boat Show was, for many years, the first opportunity for consumers to see the new-year models. If you set the clock back to August of 1984, the M.C. show was the unveiling of new models for the 1985 model year. Dealers are now taking delivery of new-model-year product around July 1 and must begin selling those models while still trying to work their way through current-calendar-year product. It’s a difficult balancing act for a dealer — needing to make sure he has ample product to sell through the peak boating months means he can’t afford to run out of current-calendar-year product too early, while at the same time trying to not gulp down so much new-model-year product that he gets buried in both. The up-creep of model year changeover helped take the impact of the late-August/early September shows away, diminishing shopper excitement for seeing “what’s new for ’08 ..”. Spiffs or inventory reduction incentives are a poor substitute for better manufacturer planning – the new boat model year shouldn’t begin until the end of Summer. Unfortunately, THAT battle was lost long ago. I’m glad we’re not an outboard dealer! Best of luck to those who are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments Policy.