Yamaha Motor Canada revealed that it expects to have less than 25 sport boats in dealer inventory by the end of fiscal 2011. The projection was of one several positive announcements made at the company’s media day held at Deerhurst Resort in Huntsville, ON last week.
Rick Layzell, Yamaha’s National Manager, Marine and OPE reports that Yamaha restricted sales of sport boats in Canada this past year. “In 2011 we could have sold 150 to 160 boats,” says Layzell. “However, by managing supply and demand our sell-through ratio this year has been exceptional.”
Layzell says his company expects dealers to sell another 10 to 12 boats before the end of the fiscal year, leaving Yamaha Motor Canada’s 30-plus nationwide dealers with less than 25 boats in inventory.
Next year, Yamaha’s sport boat sales could climb even higher as its recent new product announcement included the introduction of a pair of single-engine 19-foot models – the SX190 and AR190. The 19-foot models are now the smallest sport boats built by the company and are expected to compete for a more entry-level market share. “We have very high goals and expectations for the 19-foot models,” explains Layzell. “We’re not going to compete with a $16,000 Bayliner, that’s not who we are. But you can bet we are going to compete with brands like Tahoe and Sea Ray.”
It was also announced that in 2012 all of Yamaha’s sport boats will come equipped with a new technology called Thrust Direction Enhancer (TDE). TDE redirects the boat’s jet thruster to improve straight-line tracking and low speed maneuvering – greatly improving docking.
In the PWC segment, Yamaha has more than 100 PWC dealers across Canada and reports that three-passenger models make up the majority of its sales. Layzell says that Yamaha has increased its market share in Canada to 20 percent, up approximately two percent from last year. “We have a really healthy dealer inventory level, which is down 27 percent from last year,” says Layzell.
In the outboard engine segment, Layzell says that outboard sales for the industry slid 18 percent after 2008, but since then have remained relatively flat. “The entire outboard industry leveled at about 35,000 units for the last three years running,” he says. “The pontoon sector of the market has been a shining light for the entire industry with growth right across the country for many brands.”
One potential bright spot for the company’s dealers moving forward is a greater focus on parts and accessories sales. “We’ve all been listening to what the dealers have been saying for the last three years,” says Layzell. “They’re concerned with cost of inventory finance and profit margins. Parts and accessories have done a lot of work in the past couple of years. For instance, in the US the fit up ratio with sports boats with a cover is 91 percent. It’s only 78 percent in Canada. Isn’t it colder here? Doesn’t it rain more? We’re doing some pretty aggressive initiatives with the dealer body. There’s good margin in boat covers.”
Covers are just the start. Yamaha hopes to increase dealer profits and its own through additional accessory sales of items such as YamaLube, Mr. Funnel fuel filters, Jet Pilot marine wear and price-reduced extended warranties that don’t cut into dealer margin.
Yamaha will also give its dealers the opportunity to better profit from the garment and accessories side of the business by offering non-Yamaha branded clothing items. The company believes offering non-Yamaha branded clothing lines will expand sales to include boaters who may not own Yamaha products. “We’re not going to compete with entry-level priced clothing, that’s not where we’re going,” explains Layzell. “But we are definitely committed to bringing profitable opportunities to dealers committed to the Yamaha brand.”