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Old 03-31-2009
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Global Recession and Sailboat Manufacturing

Not too much has been written on this subject. Anyone have any insights or opinions on what the impact of the recession will be on sailboat manufacturing in the USA and Europe.

Haven't heard much about Tartan lately, but the recession can't be good for them. Are they still going strong. What about Beneteau. Catalina and Hunter. Will these companies survive? Are there opportunities here.
Opinions anyone?
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Old 03-31-2009
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Opportunities for what? To buy a boat for cheap? You are better off looking on the used market to find the best deal. If you are in the market for a new boat, then there is more room to negotiate than there was a couple of years ago.
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Old 03-31-2009
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Several manufacturers have gone belly up, several others have cut back on production and laid off people. As for Tartan, they're still in the toilet with a pallet of legal settlements against them.
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Old 03-31-2009
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Here are the manufacturers that I have heard or confirmed have gone under:

Manta Catamarans
PDQ Sailing Catamarans (molds bought up by Antares I believe)
Pacific Seacraft
Tartan/C&C are in some sort of crazy ownership transfer...very shady.
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Pacific Seacraft is back in business, under new ownership.
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Old 04-01-2009
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Beneteau had layoffs in SC recently.
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Old 04-03-2009
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What about Freedom Yachts? Have they gone out of business? I did a google search but not much info. I thought I heard Catalina is going to be building in FLA primarily..
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Beneteau just laid off another 800 in France!
Freedom is LONG gone.
I think the Catalina direction is more due to the hassles and costs of building in California.
Most recent news has new sailboat sails down around 40-50%.
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Old 04-05-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
...
Freedom is LONG gone...
Actually, not so long gone. They hadn't made sailboats for a while, though they still had the molds and claimed they could start the line up and make one (can't imagine they could have done that for anything close to a reasonable price tag). Nevertheless, the company remained in business and built the Legacy Yachts line of power boats. But now, the company has gone under entirely, so I've read. So it actually was only relatively recently that the "company" died.
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Old 04-06-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor-man View Post
Anyone have any insights or opinions on what the impact of the recession will be on sailboat manufacturing in the USA and Europe.
Fortunately, sailboats are not cars; you tend not to need the manufacturer for spare parts, so it isn't as if you're left up in the air You've probably noticed that firms tend to get "recycled" a lot, old moulds turn up in new garages, and so forth. Possibly more than half the 2nd hand boats on the market come from companies long gone, without anyone losing sleep over them.

Others know much more about the US, but I could reply for Europe: All are laying off staff, but these companies will carry on regardless: Beneteau, Jeanneau, Bavaria; probably Hanse (German). British ones? Dicey, but they are mostly small and probably scrape through. The Swedes have some problems even if Hallberg-Rassy puts on a brave face and speaks of orders into next year. Really small Swedish ones may go down (some have) but reappear with new owners - that's just the way there. Italians seem to be heading down fast. The Danes (X-Yachts mostly) live on a solid reputation and regatta successes.
All in all, it seems to boil down to France and Germany dominating more, the Brits struggling along in minor roles and the Swedes and Danes keeping their niche quality boats. For anyone elsewhere it's a throw of the dice.

Do you care?
Right now, the real victims are recent owners; those who bought in the past 3-4 years and really, really ought to sell for private reasons. They are competing against hungry factories, and because European sailboats had boom years peaking in 2007, there is an abundance of boats in that age range.

So, if you want to be the vulture, dig in
There could be a double benefit in buying now: the previous serious downturn from the 80s created a grave shortage of boats produced during almost a decade after, helping the 80s boats to keep an artificially high second-hand value. This could happen again to boats made up to 2009.

Last edited by OsmundL; 04-06-2009 at 10:02 PM.
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