American Boatbuilder's World Competitiveness

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by brian eiland, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
    Posts: 4,964
    Likes: 188, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1903
    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    ...interesting editorial by the editor of European Boatbuilder


    "I would suggest that Europe’s boatbuilders could be in real trouble just now if the Americans were on the money with their product design."




    It has to be said that we in Europe owe a huge debt to the Americans. And no, I’m not talking about their contributions to the winning sides in two world wars or inventing rock n roll, to name but a few of the real biggies. No, we, and I am sure I speak on behalf of most of this continent’s boatbuilders — owe them a big ‘thank you’ just now for being so incredibly off the pace when it comes to developing international markets for their boats; or rather, I should say, not developing international boats for their markets.

    Even the most successful US boatbuilders will be doing well if they export 10-15 per cent of their production and they are likely to be top export performers if they get international sales figures up much above the 25 per cent mark. Most, of course, don’t export at all. And, before anyone writes in, I apologies in advance to the exceptions; I know I’m generalizing.

    No, even the very best US builders can’t compare with the best Europeans, which typically would export upwards of 75 per cent and have distribution networks that take in pretty much the whole planet.

    Of course, the reason I’m chipping these broad-brush opinions in now is all down to the scary health of the US dollar. Indeed, I would suggest that Europe’s boatbuilders could be in real trouble just now if the Americans were on the money with their product design. But American boatbuilders almost without exception stick to the same tack. They try to sell abroad what sells at home; and it just doesn’t work as far as boats go. And we all know it doesn’t really work when it comes to cars either come to think of it.

    With the US dollar in the doldrums — and a disturbing number of money-market analysts are suggesting it will get weaker before it gets stronger, and very possibly a lot weaker — it is fair to say that Europe’s boatbuilders can today, and very probably tomorrow too, thank their lucky stars (and stripes!) that the US boatbuilding industry has always been notoriously insular, not to say crazily neglectful, when it comes to markets beyond its own substantial boundaries. And there’s no evidence to suggest any real change.

    They just don’t seem to have learned the lessons of the past.

    When things are good, American builders seem to have more than enough on their plates gearing up and delivering to the home crowd. And every time there is a major slowdown in the US and/or when the US dollar is weak, we see the same cyclical response — a case of too little, too late. They tend to turn/return attentions to export territories — and obviously Europe is always a prime focus, because it has, outside North America, by far the largest boating communities — only when they have spare capacity, not as part of a global strategy.

    Phil Draper, editor
     
  2. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
    Posts: 2,528
    Likes: 362, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1669
    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Interesting, and pretty accurate. Most of the big volume manufacturers export but most small volume don't, except to Canada.
     
  3. TollyWally
    Joined: Mar 2005
    Posts: 774
    Likes: 26, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 423
    Location: Fox Island

    TollyWally Senior Member

    So how do the various markets break out percentage wise?
     
  4. water addict
    Joined: Jun 2004
    Posts: 317
    Likes: 6, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 73
    Location: maryland

    water addict Naval Architect

    So what attributes of US vs Euro boats are distinguishing? What makes a boat more attractive to the European market? Stylistic stuff or other more tangible things? What's your opine Brian- give some hard facts.
     
  5. TeddyDiver
    Joined: Dec 2007
    Posts: 2,587
    Likes: 125, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1650
    Location: Finland/Norway

    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Closed handrails at the bow for starters? It's not a biggie, but we are so used to get in and out from the bow. Actually a lot small piers are made such way it's not even possible to do it other way round. And bcs of our everymans right here in the Nortern Europe, we can get ashore about anyway we are pleased so It is a biggie after all...
     

  6. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
    Posts: 4,964
    Likes: 188, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1903
    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    My Opinion

    Sorry, I've not studied this situation to a great extent. I just found the opinion of that editor interesting, and thought this boatdesign forum might as well.
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.