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.