01-07-2014, 12:00 PM #1
Vicious Rumors and Vile Gossip: The Watercraft Journal’s Predictions for 2014
As a slight departure from our usual fare of “Vicious Rumors and Vile Gossip” wherein we relay whisperings or try to slap some flesh on otherwise bare bones chatter throughout the personal watercraft industry, today’s edition will focus on some pretty sound and some not-so-sound predictions for the personal watercraft industry for 2014. It won’t be terribly in depth, as our crystal ball didn’t come in high definition. So again, don’t kill the messenger.
That being said, we at The Watercraft Journal are pretty enthusiastic for this new year. With all three manufacturers producing products that are not only unique to the industry but also to themselves, it will be very interesting to see how the new 365 days unfold. A great deal of politics (both within and outside of the industry) play a part as they directly effect both the economy and people’s willingness to make substantial purchases.
Understanding these factors and weighing the impact of the products being offered to an already highly competitive environment, it’s commendable that we participate in an industry that is so vibrant. It’s a testament to the passion of those who occupy our industry that PWC have survived through the fall of monumental highs to abysmal lows (both in sales and public opinion) only to begin to rise yet again.
Clearly, the company with the most riding on the line is Sea-Doo. The watercraft division of BRP has undergone some rather drastic changes in recent years. From unveiling innovations like brakes, fly-by-wire throttle control and computer-controlled suspension (iBR, iTC and iS, respectively), to terminating its sport boat line to the recent launch of the Spark, the company has been nothing less than daring – and if history teaches us anything – fortune favors the brave.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the Spark will revolutionize the industry…at least his year. Despite the advertising imagery of hipsters driving their Toyota Prius to the lake with a Spark in tow, we predict the leading demographic of Spark purchasers to be (and have already shown to be) long-time PWC owners. The Spark’s appeal as a “throwback” to earlier days is core to watercraft enthusiasts and we’ll see more established enthusiasts picking up Sparks more than virgin buyers.
Ironically, we see Spark sales transcending brand loyalty. Yamaha, Kawasaki and even those remaining Honda loyalists will fall for the Spark’s old school appeal. Standup riders too will fall for the newcomer and much of Sea-Doo’s initial advertising will need to course-correct to reflect accordingly. It will be the established PWC owners who will actually assist Sea-Doo most in its drive to welcome in new buyers – as a burgeoning community of Spark owners will create clubs and communities to which new customers will find fellowship.
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01-07-2014, 01:31 PM #2
01-07-2014, 02:21 PM #3
Kevin as usual well said.
Thanks for your insight.
01-07-2014, 08:52 PM #4
01-07-2014, 09:56 PM #5
I sure hope Kawasaki does come out with a new stx or something that's more affordable than the 310.
01-08-2014, 01:38 AM #6
Your crystal ball seems to be made if resin again.
01-08-2014, 04:47 AM #7
A new 15f and another ski to the line up would be nice
01-08-2014, 10:05 AM #8
1. Last prognostications about Kawi were far off the mark. As far as 15F I am also hopeful but in this market realistically I am not sure the R&D is warranted. Maybe for a motor and slight changes. This years 15F is the BEST looking yet and it will pace a VXR in rough water.
2. The Ultra wins MANY stock class CC races. I agree it will sweep offshore and endurance events. Funny thing: it beats 80+ mph skis at endurance event on a lake. Someday someone will break through on one of these though.
3. Yes most Sparks purchased by people already in the sport. They are the only ones that know they exist. Give it time.
4. Yamaha skis are good. But I don't see them beating any more of the competition then they have. I may be wrong here and eat some crow but... Maybe that lease program is so they can buy back those nano-excel hulls before they nano-eggshell. As Duke & John & folks would say: "More opportunities for donor ski's"..lol I have not heard of any racer/team leasing a ski yet. Time will tell.
I don't mean to seem contrary. But I like the stirring of this conversation. Thank you Rustymuscle for that! I hope on the 15F he is correct. Some of us have other balls we use...lol to get hard intel. But that does not mean you can come here on Green Hulk and spill the beans or your source will tighten right up on you.
The sport is struggling domestically. Internationally there is a lot going on. Things change. I do not know if the 90's will ever return. I don't know if my local lake can handle that. But the big blue out here is the best riding anyways. There is plenty of room out there.
People look at you sideways (tourists) when you pull up to the dock on a December afternoon at Redondo Beach for lunch with your buddies. They have/had no idea. In Iowa, back home, it's iced up.
Lets hope the industry at least thrives enough to survive.
Oh yeah, notice no Honda talk?
01-08-2014, 12:26 PM #9
Realize that I wouldn't put my name on an article if I wasn't 1) sure about what I was reporting or 2) willing to accept the consequences. I would say that many of those "far off the mark" predictions are just "far too early." I'll leave it at that.
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