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  1. #1
    Rustymuscle's Avatar
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    Kevin Shaw: Where Is The Personal Watercraft International Trade Show?



    There’s a universal truth that has been proven over and over again ad nauseum: competition breeds excellence. At no time has a monopoly provided the end-all of customer service or satisfaction. Had Henry Ford continued to operate unchallenged, Ford dealerships would still be nothing but fleets of all black sedans and trucks.

    It only when the stakes are raised that companies and entrepreneurs feel the need to continually improve, add more features, variety and options to their products. It’s only when the threat of losing customers arises that companies truly rise to the occasion. It’s when faced with the threat of extinction that an animal bears its teeth. In the dog-eat-dog world of commerce, this threat is ever present.

    In recent weeks, I’ve been really concerned with the health of the personal watercraft industry. Not just the sport, although racing is and ought to continue to be a viable proving ground and apparatus to appeal to a larger demographic of would-be clients, but the mechanics of the actual industry itself. Interestingly, all three actively do all the things that could pump new life into the industry, but for other products (more on that later).

    The post Kevin Shaw: Where Is The Personal Watercraft International Trade Show? appeared first on The Watercraft Journal.
    Last edited by Rustymuscle; 01-14-2014 at 01:04 PM.


  2. #2
    OzarkYamMonster's Avatar
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    Thanks Kevin, I agree. We need to promote the PWC as a whole. Keep up the fight.


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    With all due respect Kevin, I think the causes for the decline in sales of PWC are far more complex. The peak sales that were achieved in 1996 were the result of the initial fad based growth that many consumer goods experience in their life cycles. People tried them, broke them, and found out they weren't that much fun. After this phase the manufacturers have themselves to blame for not designing and manufacturing products that were reliable and durable enough. Add to this the usual inability of the marine industry in general to deliver an effective repair experience and many people just got sick of the products and dumped them. From a dealer's perspective, a PWC is neither "fish nor fowl" in that it really doesn't appeal to the traditional boat buyer nor to many consumers of wheeled vehicles. As a result they were unable to properly understand and tool for the servicing of them. The poor reliability, compared to other recreational vehicles, continues today and the situation is made worse by the advent of more expensive and higher horsepower 4 stroke engines.

    In summary, I think there is more interest in the sport than you think. BRP wouldn't have developed the Spark, which I think is a very well executed product line, if they didn't have the market research that showed the demand.

  4. #4
    "just sayin".. jetdave56's Avatar
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    In all do respect Kevin I believe it was 200,000 units in the mid nineties NOT 2 million...just sayin

    But what is interesting while it's true PWC sales have declined over the yrs and yes a paltry 30,000 just sold,PWC ownership is at a peak or near a high of 1.4M that are registered or titled according to NMMA.


    The theory might be that owners see no reason to trade up as to the deep depreciation they have and used and ridden just occasionally ..

    Also with the avent of aftermarket companies like Riva,R&D and the forums and the "how to" videos , owners are keeping them longer and don't want to deal with dealership repairs and cost...

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    Rustymuscle's Avatar
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    Yikes. Yes, it was 200,000 units sold. The article has since been corrected.

    And I'll agree that many "came and went" from the PWC industry for fickle reasons - and not primarily due to environmental concerns as some would have you believe. But because "they weren't that much fun" was never a factor. Because they required more maintenance than most were willing to commit to is far more likely as the mass of people are lazier than they'd like to admit.

    In order for the "followers" to fall in line fads need to come from somewhere. And there were significantly more people involved in the sport by its peak in 1995 than today. Exposure and popular appeal was strong.

    Additionally, Sea-Doo's Spark meets only a certain quantity of existing demand for bare-bones throwbacks. Rather, by looking at how and whom the Spark is being advertised to you will see that Sea-Doo is looking to cultivate a new culture of PWC enthusiasts.

  6. #6
    devils ride 250's Avatar
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    Great article. I see it gaining ground again. I think the spark is a great start. A few other designs and trends would be a great idea to. At the same time it's a sport that can only sustain so much popularity. U can only fit so many skis in certain areas when riding before there are to many skis and idiots giving us a bad rap. We are a diehard bunch. And yes we do hang onto are skis longer. My 07 excites me every time I ride it. It isn't a fad people go thru anymore like they use to. Motorcycles now are a dad to many like skis were in the 90's. People buy and sell bikes left and right That's part of the reason they sell so many
    we need to stay respectful on the water with are skis and it would also be nice to get more legit events like free rides going. That would help out

  7. #7
    YoYamma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pro1200 View Post
    The poor reliability, compared to other recreational vehicles, continues today and the situation is made worse by the advent of more expensive and higher horsepower 4 stroke engines.
    Our 4 strokes, particularly the Yamahas, have been the most reliable watercraft I have ever owned (and I have owned a lot of stuff over 30 years). Four units, combined nearly 700 hours with zero failures of any kind, and very little maintenance required. I'll put that up against anything on the water.

    Without a doubt, the problem with the watercraft sales is a reflection of the destruction of the small business sector (your economic engine) by a socialist president who has no clue how to help our economy and is now bringing massive damage to our monthly disposable income by doubling and tripling our health insurance premiums for millions of Americans.

    Not to mention the new "norm" for gasoline at nearly $4 for a gallon of super and well over $3 for a gallon of regular. We ride 12 months a year here. Try running two or more PWC at 100 hours a year and take a look at your fuel costs. Let's face it, the Spark product is a direct result of an industry responding to customers with far less money, and the inability to secure significant credit from a banking system that is tighter than a clam's azz. And let's not forget, in some areas of the country our PWC are still being banned from more and more waterways, which doesn't help.

    Either way, we are still going to ride, and I love some of the new products coming to market. I like to think of PWC as a fountain of youth.

  8. #8
    "just sayin".. jetdave56's Avatar
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    The PWC manufacturers Yamaha ,Kawasaki,Honda?? and their bean counters are watching how much influence this Sea Doo Spark has on sales and profit this yr and next... Wouldn't surprise us if they come with their own little "60 hp Spark" for 5K plus...

    Fun and playful factor at an inexpensive price might be the formula for volume sales...

    Lets face it not many people want to spend 15-16K OTD for a hobby they use every once in a while...

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  10. #9
    devils ride 250's Avatar
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    Ya the spark has nothing to do with a sparse economy. Not a jab at you yoyamma It's something different which is what the industry needed. Just like when it turned to bigger and faster. I'm excited for the spark cause I got kids and I want them to ride and not something to fast right away. Up until this point I woulda had to buy used. It's extending the olive branch if u will

  11. #10
    YoYamma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by devils ride 250 View Post
    Ya the spark has nothing to do with a sparse economy...
    "No matter how much we love the powersports industry, we have to face the facts: our sports are essentially hobbies -- discretionary purchases that take a secondary role in most peoples lives compared to paying the mortgage, buying groceries and paying the bills. If OEMs want to earn people’s hard-earned cash, they need to offer an exciting product that is priced right for the times. Sea-Doo took this central mission to heart when it developed the new Spark"

    http://www.dealernews.com/dealernews...park-4999-msrp

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