As a shipyard, Lürssen has generated wide acclaim for its show-stopping and record-breaking projects; think 180m M/Y Azzam (the world’s longest) and the 15,917gt behemoth M/Y Dilbar (the world’s largest). But in a way, the German yachting giant has been a victim of its own prestige. SuperyachtNews speaks exclusively with Michael Breman, sales director of Lürssen, about the misconception, much vaunted by various media outlets, that Lürssen is solely a 100m-plus builder.
“There appears to be a disconnect between the perception of what Lürssen does and what we are actually able and available to deliver,” starts Breman. “In its simplest form, I spend a vast amount of energy reminding people that we will happily engage in the 50-100m market. We have actually built more superyachts under 90m than a number of our competitors; it’s astounding that we rarely get recognised for our projects of this size.” (See slider images 3 & 4)
Breman concedes that communicating the full scope of Lürssen’s capabilities has proved problematic, given the prominence that the very largest projects boast in the public sphere. And yet, since 2008, Lürssen has produced more sub-100m superyachts (19) than it has 100m-plus (11). More concerning however, is that this 100m-plus mentality is being perpetuated by various channels, with the result that it pervades the minds of potential owners.
“We are a truly bespoke yacht builder, if somebody would like to build a 50m superyacht, we would do that. Naturally, in the 50-60m size range, there is far more competition from production and semi-custom yards and the price differential between a Lürssen and one of these yards is significant,” he continues. “Furthermore, the market for custom superyachts in this size range is still incredibly small - only a few a year, perhaps. However, it is important for owners to be aware that Lürssen still operates within this portion of the market.”
The market for smaller custom projects (50-70m), relatively speaking, is still driven by the same motivations as the 100m-plus sector, namely the desire to be the owner of a unique vessel. However, unlike the 100m-plus sector, rationality, given enough time, ordinarily trumps emotion in the 50-70m size range with the availability of more cost-effective options.
Issues of initial cost and depreciation undoubtedly play a major role in determining superyacht purchases in the 50-70m range. By stark contrast, there is no such production or semi-custom (rational) option available at the larger end of the superyacht spectrum and, arguably, historical attempts to create such an option have failed – consider Blohm+Voss’s BV80 project.
Nevertheless, there are individuals, while they may be few and far between, who are on the market for a fully-bespoke superyacht within this category and, importantly, Lürssen is able to cater to these individuals.
“Bigger is not always better,” Breman says, countering an adage that is too widely taken for granted in yachting. “Sixty metres is still an incredibly large vessel. The important element of any custom build is to produce the right size yacht for the right client. Most individuals that can afford a custom 60m superyacht can afford one over 100m, but some people just don’t need that much space!”
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