Guess things aren't too bad after all...
From the Toronto Star - January 10, 2009:
...won't cast a shadow on the 2009 Toronto boat show, promises Linda Waddell, vice-president of Northern Shows for the National Marine Manufacturers Association and former manager of the Toronto show.
"We're in a sold-out situation as always," she says, "with product in every square foot of space that we're allowed to sell product in. And we have the same number of exhibitors as last year, with over 1,500 boats."...
...According to the monthly report of marine industry analyst Mike Derrett in December, "industry business in the U.S. is probably down to at least 50 per cent of 2007 levels."
He quotes a colleague who visited the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show in October: "The U.S. boating industry is in a state of shock at the severity and speed of the downturn in sales. Most current reports from the Fort Lauderdale show were of year-to-date sales down by 40 per cent to 50 per cent."
...Adelkind, of Angus Yachts, says that by October, people were saying, "it's going to be a bloodbath in the U.S. By next spring of '09, 40 per cent of all dealerships will be gone."
A major part of the problem, he says, is that "the wholesale commercial lending business," the so-called "floor planning" business that underwrites the inventory, is in dire straits.
Here in Canada, however, there's no doom and gloom, says Waddell. The banks are still lending, she says, and "dealers are smart about watching their inventory levels and smart about cutting expenses. As with most industries, boat manufacturers and dealers are adjusting to the economic environment."
But there's another factor that may keep the boating industry afloat in Canada, at least in Ontario.
"Boaters here are very passionate about being on the water," Waddell says, hopefully.
Al Donaldson, executive director of the Ontario Marine Operators Association, agrees.
"People continue to boat," he says, "and to keep their boats at marinas. Overall, we don't see a major disaster area in marinas. Slips will be occupied and operators probably expect to hold their own."
He adds, "Now, 2008 is not 2009. Operators are aware of the economy and most are holding their prices where they were before."
As for the dealers, he predicts, "Dealers will see some decline. But I don't think they're going to be the disaster that's in the U.S. No doubt that credit is going to be tighter and more difficult to get, but good operators continue to get credit. GE Capital and several of the banks have confirmed that they're still open for business and looking for business."
Last edited by Sailormann; 01-12-2009 at 01:16 AM.