Join Date: Jul 2002
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
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Matty, I''d encourage you to consider how the marketplace works with a boat like an Elan. They are built in Slovenia and, much like other Eastern European, now-EU member countries, they may have a boat building industry but it has not had a national customer base. Rather, they have been building for dealers in areas of Europe and N America, and so their principal ''customer'' is a dealer network. As ''twofer'' suggests, they are marketed as a light displacement club racing product. In the absence of more local feedback (in their own language, from their own countrymen), they will have addressed build and design issues only as they primarily migrate back from the dealer network. What this tends to mean is that, while they may get better at producing a bendy spar, better deck layout and such, they probably get little feedback on the minimal size of their tankage or how their boats wear, long term, off shore.
Related to this, consider the Elan dealer in your area to be your source of product quality assurance. From what I hear (from British brokers who sell E European-build boats), these builders still have a relatively immature understanding of the business rationale for providing good customer support and QA/warranty coverage. I don''t know how true this is for Elan but that just means it''s worth checking out.
If any of the above sounds like small potatoes, consider how successful Catalina has been over 3 decades, given that they have a very loyal owner group which stems in part from direct factory support, good QA, good warranty support, and models being redesigned with much owner feedback. Now imagine Catalina building boats in Slovenia and ask how likely it is these attributes would still exist...