Stingray Boats hosted approximately 75 of its dealers from around the world at its annual dealer meeting in mid September. Over 150 people attended the event held at the Hampton hotel in Florence, South Carolina. During the meeting, one Quebec-based dealership was honoured among the company's top performing dealers for the 2013 model year.
"Among our top dealers this year, in no particular order, was Marine Center Deibold in Germany; Marina Le Merry Club in Magog, Quebec; Chatlee Marine in Sanford, North Carolina; and Grand Bay Marine in Traverse City, Michigan,' says Mark Skeen, Stingray's Vice President of Global Sales.
This year the boat builder introduced its dealers to several new models as well as new interior and exterior boat design updates. New for the 2014 model year, Stringray showcased boats featuring full-colour hulls. "The new colour schemes are amazing,' says attendee Dorothy Hare, Business Partner for Bala Cove Marina based in Bala, Ontario. "It's new hull gel coats are definitely a step up. The new top and bottom colour combinations provide customers a lot more choices. The company is also now offering a really warm desert colour option for the interior of its boats. It's a sophisticated look – I think it was a really good choice.'
Other highlights included Stingray's new 212SC, a 21-foot, 11-inch deck boat sporting a change room and the company's new solid colour hull. Powered by a 150hp Yamaha outboard, the 212SC offers a balance of performance and passenger capacity. In addition to the deck boat, Stingray also displayed fish-and-ski and sport deck versions of its existing 198 bowrider, again, each sporting the company's new full hull-colour styling.
"We have been very successful with Stingray's entry-level models, such as the 185,' says Hare, whose marina has been a Stingray dealer since 2008. "It seems like the market in our area is leaning toward bigger boats now. We're finding that customers who we sold an entry-level boat to are returning to upgrade to a larger model. About a month ago, one of our customers who bought a Stingray 195 from us traded it in for a 225.'
Dealers in attendance were also given the opportunity to take a tour of Stingray's nearby manufacturing facilities in Hartsville, South Carolina. The tour highlights how Stingray is able to keep the prices of its boats in check by reducing waste. "The way they're able to build their boats using computer-aided technology has led to very little waste of material,' says Hare, who took the tour. "That helps them to keep the prices of their boats lower, because expenses are minimized.'
The company also claims to better control costs and quality by building some boat components typically provided by suppliers. For instance, Stingray manufactures all of the upholstery used on its boats in-house. The company also makes the framework for the canvas tops on its boats, excluding some of the hardware.
Stingray believes there is potential to grow its market share in Canada, specifically in the central and western provinces. "I think we're well represented in Ontario,' says Skeen. "Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC are our primary focus now. We've got a great dealer in SeaMasters in Nova Scotia and we're looking at building some dealers further north in Ontario as well. We have dealers in Saskatchewan, but we're trying to fill in areas where there are voids.'