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Let me ask your questions

If you missed it, MRAA just named the manufacturers who have accepted the invitation to be on the “Industry Leaders Panel” at the upcoming MRAA National Convention. It is, without a doubt, the largest and most prestigious group of manufacturers ever assembled for a panel at this annual convention in Las Vegas.

I will have the privilege of serving as Panel Moderator. As such, I’ll be asking the panel the questions – YOUR QUESTIONS if you’ll give them to me. So, I’m using this Blog today to ask you to provide me with any questions you would ask these industry leaders if you were the Moderator.

You can get your questions to me in any of these 3 ways: (1) Fax me at LEMTA, (440) 899-5013; (2) E-mail me at; or (3) post your question here in the Blog comments. 

Of course, I will not identify the author (assuming I even know) of any question asked, and I can’t use a question that would require a panelist to reveal his company’s proprietary information.

Other than that, the door is wide open for you to be part of an interesting dialogue whether you’re at the Convention in person or not (and I think every dealer should attend this outstanding convention.) Yes, following the Convention, I will report on the answers given by the panelists in this Blog space.

Now, here is the Industry Leaders Panel that will field your questions. John Dorton, Mastercraft; David Slikkers, Tiara/Pursuit; Phil Dyskow, Yamaha; Duane Kuck, Regal; Roch Lambert, BRP; Kevin Riem, Crownline; Dusty McCoy, Brunswick; Roger Cloutir, Genmar; Clint Moore, Volvo; Jim Lane, Chapparral; and Bruce VanWagoner, GE.

The MRAA Convention is slated for Nov. 27-29. I urge all dealers to register at

However, I will be accepting your questions for the Panel only through next Thursday, Nov. 1. So, don’t put it off – get those questions to me now, please.


8 comments on “Let me ask your questions

  1. larry Russo

    Norm – Irwin Jacobs is noticeably missing from the panel this year. This question will have to go to Roger Cloutier; If Genmar is so anti-Brunswick, why don’t they take a bold stand and stop using Mercury/MerCruiser products in their boats? There are outboard and sterndrive alternatives that could be installed in Genmar boats that would set their brands apart in the marketplace so they don’t have to “patronize” the competition and be “powered” by the competition. Why does Jacobs continue to “bash” the competition and continue to give them his money? In my opinion, he wants it both ways and that is not a very good long-term strategy for his dealers. Thanks.

  2. Gary Stephen

    In recent years, engine and boat manufacturers have been giving away extended warranties in what has clearly proven to be a fruitless effort to sell more boats. (Let me point out that Toyota has the shortest warranty in the auto industry and has no difficulty selling cars.) The sale of extended service contracts had been an excellent income source for larger dealers employing F&I managers, but that has been largely taken away by the manufacturers’ giveaways. Since the larger dealers are the real future of the marine industry (not the mom-n-pops), it behooves the manufacturers in this industry to listen to their dealers and work hand-in-hand with them to make them profitable. Additionally, while an auto F&I menu may have as many as 12 items for sale, a marine menu has a maximum of 4 or 5, of which the service contract was extemely profitable. Recently, manufacturers have not only given away the profit center of service contracts, but they have charged the dealers additional monies to help pay for the warranty, simply adding to the problem. Can we please stop this nonsense and start to work together for everyone’s good?

  3. Lee

    What are some things that dealers can and should do to improve the mutually beneficial partnership between dealer and manufacturer? What are some things manufacturers can and should do to improve the mutually beneficial partnership between manufacturer and dealer?

    What do you think a healthy inventory turn level is for our industry.

  4. Joe Lewis

    I’d like to know what manufacturers are doing to support and promote the Grow Boating initiative. Specifically I’d like to know what they’re doing to promote dealer certification, getting Discover Boating leads to their dealer base and hear about any special promotions or marketing programs to encourage folks unfamilar with boating to learn more.

  5. Pete Loftin

    It is very apparant operators licencing is becoming more of an issue in the marine field, not only at the local level, but also both state and federal platues. As a very select and knowledageable manufacture group, what are your opinions on this isue, not withstanding MRAA’s position and not a “motherhood and apple pie” response?

  6. Rob Brown

    Norm, Why is it that manufacturers are more regularly third partying warranties?
    It seems more now a days that if a dealer has an issue with a gauge, a canvas section, a stereo, a seat covering, and other common items, they are required to contact the supplier to the boat company of that component. In an effort to make doing business easier this is a move in a direction that adds to the dealers load by having to approach one company for a replacement part, and a second, the company you actually purchased the boat from, for labor and shipping credits. Two sets of paperwork, double the work for the dealer.
    In the effort to make doing business for the boat manufacturers customer, the dealer, is there any consideration being given to reversing this trend and putting the responsibility back on the boat builder to deal with their own suppliers?

  7. Jim

    I see noone has mentioned dealer agreements—this needs to be brought up as dealers are still at the mercy of the manufacturers. Lee came close in his questions above; maybe add the dealer agreement issue to his questions.

  8. Russ Hewitt

    Having spent the best part of 33 yrs in the industry in numerouse Sales and Marketing positions I was involved in many disussions about Dealer agreements. Most of which are designed to be broken for many causes both at the dealer and manufacutring level. The enviroment was always in both cases to be able to protect ones interests and to give either side the opportunity to walk away from such agreements. In my experience very few dealers had a bonaifde step by step reasons to have a chance at successfully sueing a manufacturer for cancellation without cause. On the other side of the coin few manufacturers sue dealers for abridging the signed dealer agreement. i.e dealer taking on competitve lines, have insufficient floor plan available for growth, poor after sales service, closing a location in an agreed upon market area etc, etc,.Ideally the industry should set up an independent reveiw panel to look at the cancellation process. Thank the Lord I am out of the Industry as it is now. Thanks and I still have my heart in it however. Russ Hewitt.

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