A View from Here

Bill's Sisson's weekly Trade Only blog

Any incentives out there?

Remember two years ago when the car industry brought back incentives to counter high fuel prices and rising interest rates. Dealers throughout the country offered as much as $6,000 in rebates.

Some dealers brought back free-gas offers when gasoline reached $3 a gallon following Hurricane Katrina. We know what it cost to fill up at the pump, today.

Then, one California dealer offered customers a choice between cash rebates of thousands of dollars or up to $6,000 of free gas when purchasing certain vehicles.

And zero-percent financing became a popular promotion among car makers looking to pare inventory of older models.

Did the marine industry do anything similar then? And is anyone in the marine industry doing anything similar, today?

Do let us know. Your feedback is appreciated and an open exchange of ideas regarding such incentives could help the industry spur sales.

Lois Caliri


5 comments on “Any incentives out there?

  1. aux_man@mac.com

    If you sell gas, service and have a chandlery you should consider giving it away on the front end to make it up on the back. The way I see it, if they dont buy gas, they wont need a mechanic or bait or PFD’s or flares. 1 day a week (Saturday) give away $XX off per gallon coupons in your store (to get them buying) which is good only on (Whacky) Wednesday. Then you will have people in your store and breaking boats…

  2. boatman

    You can’t run a boat dealership like a car dealership. It doesn’t work. Many have tried it over the years, and they all have failed. Automobile dealers sell thousands of cars per year. Not so boat dealers. There are only a few ,powerful automakers out there. There are many small and fragmented boat manufacturers. Boat dealers cannot take the pages out of the auto dealers playbook, and expect it to work for them as well. One perfect recent example of that failure is Passport Marine. If you go back and read the Soundings Only article of 10/23/07 t itled “Standing Out”, you will see this is what they tried to do. Pattern themselves after successful car dealerships with 0% Financing and rebates, They put two years of storage, fuel, general maintenance and insurance into the financing for the customer at a tremendously low initial rate. It Spurred sales for the company, but at what cost? They gave customers top dollar for every trade as another incentive to purchase that new boat. So what was the outcome with all these “incentives” and 0% financing? They just dug themselves deeper and deeper into debt. They got stuck with a huge overpriced used boat inventory that they couldn’t unload. Then they couldn,t pay their bills. All the deals and incentives and easy financing for customers only works at the inception. Actually, all this eventually has a negative counter affect on the customer. When the “free’ time is over and the customer has to start paying higher monthly finance charges, boat storage, fuel and insurance, he realizes he can’t really afford the boat! At this point, he is so upside down he can’t sell it either. Unfortunately, these kind of “incentives” generally attract people who can’t afford a boat in the first place, and shouldn’t be purchasing one. Attempting to compare car dealers with boat dealers is like comparing apples and oranges. An automobile is a necessity most everyone needs. a boat is a luxury. #2

  3. Tom

    We have a gas dock, restaurant, 350 docks, new and used boat sales, service techs, fiberglass tech and yard crew. Our plan….. For every 50 gallons of gas we are giving a $5.00 coupon towards food purchases in our restaurant. Coupons can be collected and used anytime time before September. We will see how it goes…..

  4. Capt. Jim Battye

    I bought my new Regulator 32 a few weeks ago, during the period when they were offering a $5,000 incentive. Would I have bought, the boat, anyway? Probably.

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