Chaparral makes well-rounded boats

Published online: Oct 30, 2013 News
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Chaparral makes a great deck boat. But as the boats become bigger and bigger, it's more like a deck boat on legal steroids. 

Chaparral and Robalo might have made successful entries into the smaller and entry-level boat market, but the brands continue to focus on all of their models between 18 and 37 feet.

"We feel the cruiser market has been slow for everyone and so we have not put as much emphasis in developing cruisers over 37 feet," Chaparral and Robalo president Jim Lane told Trade Only Today. "We have a few other cruisers in 31 to 33 and 37 feet, which are market-share leaders in their size range."

Lane and vice president Ann Baldree, who wanted to expand upon the companies' focus outlined during a recent conference call to discuss quarterly earnings, said the companies are still investing heavily in models in all of their size ranges. That includes the higher-end SSX line, which ranges from 25 to 33 feet. Chaparral introduced a new 30-foot model in the SSX line this summer.

"We want to get our point across that we offer a well-rounded cross-section of sterndrives and we are a full-service company," Baldree said.

The brands are focusing on segments experiencing higher volumes, Lane said. "What we're trying to do here is develop a strategy that helps our dealers be the most profitable they can be. So we were seeking more volume with the H2O line, but we wouldn't want our dealers or customers to feel like we're focusing exclusively on smaller boats because that's not the case. We're trying to focus on a product mix so that dealers will have everything they need in the sterndrive market area."

"Obviously the small-boat line that we introduced a couple years ago, the H2O, was a big hit," Lane added. "It helped our dealers, as well as our bottom line and our factory, but it didn't take the emphasis off other products."

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