for Victoria Day weekend and that
delays the start of the season. Our solid
dealers are having no problem with
floor planning except that the costs
have increased which is going to compress margins. There’s no sign of any
bankruptcies here. The skills shortage
is a concern; there is little unemployment and we need more techs.”
Another steady region is Atlantic
Canada and Pat Nelder of the Atlantic
Marine Trades Association felt her
industry was not experiencing the
drama some other regions were. She
suggested we contact her association’s
recent past-president, Jim Snair of
“What’s my question?” Jim responded, “Where have all the buyers gone?
That’s my question. We feel volumes are
way down, so the 2010 prices may go
way up due to economies of scale.”
Jim has an interesting perspective
and he feels that the summer of ‘09
buyer is going to save 25 to 30% if they
can buy now. In 2010, people will not
have the inventory. He talked about the
bankruptcy of General Motors and how
huge changes in the car dealership business are going to impact local
economies. “What bugs me: 2010 is
going to be harder and even a heart surgeon will slow their buying due to the
rapid rise in costs that I’m anticipating
Dave Trott at Seamasters Marine
Services in Nova Scotia was clear, “I
wish the media would stop being so
negative. We are flat out. We’re selling
Yamaha, Campion, Zodiac and more on
the water in Halifax. It feels like a normal year to me. We just delivered two
Yamaha sport boats last weekend.”
Well, get out your own crystal ball!
Here is what we see: Oil will keep rising and fluctuating widely. This will
cause the value of the Canadian dollar
to rise. But, we think the US dollar will
continue to devalue too. That will be
GM is now in bankruptcy, Chrysler is
not out of the woods yet and severe
shock may yet come from a collapse of
those businesses. By the way…where
will we get inboard and stern drive gasoline engines if GM fails?
Floor planning will not open up until
the risk diminishes and it will take competition to bring floor plan costs down.
Returning to Brock Elliott at Campion
Boats, “My biggest concerns are Number
One - floor plan, Number Two - the
health of the dealers [or another way of
saying this is that he’s worried dealers
will fail this year].
Overall, we need to plan for and
protect our industry from being too
vulnerable to rapid economic swings.
So here is an idea: if Canada again had
a solid domestic boat building industry,
we could minimize the extremes.
Supporting builders like Campion and
Doral, Stanley, Harbercraft, Grew, Misty
River and the other remaining
Canadian brands should be a priority
for this industry.