The announcement that Allied Marine has become the exclusive dealer for Ferretti Group, and an authorised dealer for CRN and Custom Line, appeared to be somewhat of a déjà vu during the 2017 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
“Allied Marine was a dealer for Ferretti in the late 1990s, before the company was sold to a guy based in Cleveland, Ohio,” explained Jon Burkard, president of Allied Marine, in an exclusive conversation with SuperyachtNews.
“In around 2000, Ferretti dropped the partnership, because Allied Marine had become the biggest dealer of Azimut yachts in the world,” he added. "So, Ferretti Group started using MarineMax as its regional distributor, while Azimut stuck with Allied Marine. Then, back in 2008, we sold Allied Marine to Ferretti Group again.”
Burkard added: “Ferretti needed a distribution centre for this hemisphere and they knew we were a great company for them back in the late ‘90s, so they bought us and kicked Azimut out. At that point, they made a strategic decision to set up two companies: they used Allied as the dealer for Ferretti and Ferretti Group America (FGA) as the distributor.”
About a year after Allied Marine became the local dealer for Ferretti Group, the recession started to take its toll on the yachting market. "Dealers stopped stocking inventory, so Ferretti Group decided to sell through FGA in the US instead,” Burkard continued. “FGA then became the dealer and distributor, while Allied dealt solely with the brokerage boats.”
However, recently, Ferretti Group has decided that it requires more penetration in Latin America and the Western US, and so Allied Marine has once again become the dealer for new boats. Burkard said there are a number of reasons for the strengthened partnership, but primarily because the group wanted more dealerships and greater local control for the sale of new boats.
“Over the past three years, there has been about a 30 per cent increase in activity, year on year. Since 2012 there has been a lot of growth and it has surpassed what we were doing in 2007."
According to Burkard, Ferretti Group has invested a large amount of money into the modernisation of the Allied Marine digital platform and brand to continue the company’s encouraging trajectory.
He added that the brokerage market has been performing “amazingly” in Ferretti Group’s target sector in the US. “Over the past three years, there has been about a 30 per cent increase in activity, year on year. Since 2012 there has been a lot of growth and it has surpassed what we were doing in 2007, however it has plateaued a bit over the past six months because the supply is not there.”
While it has opened a door of opportunity for Ferretti Group, Burkard blames the United States Congress for the decline in US yacht building. “They (US Congress) have done a really poor job of protecting our builders,” he explained. “The regulations have been such a burden.
“Our pollution laws are way stricter than the rest of the world and our wages have been higher. With little governmental support and a strong US dollar, it’s no surprise that our new build market has seen a decline.”
Burkard said it reminds him of when Japanese cars first infiltrated the US market with great success. “General Motors, Ford and Chrysler were falling apart because they didn’t have the style or panache Toyota had. The younger generation loved Toyotas and it put all the other brands on their heels.
“There tends to be one manufacturer for each component in the automotive world; the way each brand assembles their cars is the only real difference. The boating industry hasn’t got there yet, but the Italians, to be honest with you, are miles ahead with their engineering.”