The latest boat shows, from Cannes Yachting Festival to the International Genoa Boat Show and Boot Düsseldorf, have definitively confirmed the signs of a solid stable recovery of European boating industry.
Of course, we aren’t facing amazing results or a revenue growth able to recover the numbers of a market which, maybe with hindsight, was a little fake until 2008. The uncontrolled use of preferential financial instruments had in fact set the tone to a partially virtual market.
During those years, owners spent less in purchasing a new boat than buying a used one. They just needed to pay a 20% deposit and take out a 10-year loan for the rest, also facilitated by a VAT reduction which was equal to a 10% discount on the boat value.
After all, trade-in, too, was easy; anyone could access this solution without worrying about the accounting value of the income or the resulting financial fixed assets.
Many shipyards saw the light following the illusion of an artificially inflated market which allowed anyone to start to build boats, even under very precarious conditions. It was sufficient to call them “one off” and, as if by magic, a completely virtual market was created.
The result was a great collective euphoria where many cicadas, to quote Aesop, allegorically broke away from a industrial business model which, of course, necessarily needs ants.
And we cannot tell that the crisis was the consequence of some national policies because it was an European or even international phenomenon.
The only real responsible of crisis was the market itself, or rather, its bubble which had grown until to explode with a so loud roar that it decimated both shipyards and workers in just a semester.
The market was irrevocably damaged at the expense of all the serious shipyards, the reliable firms which generated thousands of jobs while producing high-quality luxury recreational products.
And, of course, at the expense of owners who received poor products from realities that, at the first gust, disappeared without leaving a trace.
But this negative cycle, fortunately finished two years ago, gave birth to a baby who crawled last year and started to talk last September.
The current boating industry is the result of a very hard natural selection having excellent morphological and functional features.
The maturity build up by yachting companies over these hard years, now is generating solid stable realities which build boats whose cost is finally linked to production costs and quality levels.
Owners, too, are more mature and, now, they clearly distinguish quality and price differences between new and used boats and they don’t expect to exchange their boat without paying an appropriate price.
Moreover, they have understood that buying a product worth several hundreds of thousands of euros from a company having a rental warehouse and two occasional workers is certainly a gamble.
Having said that, we are ready to welcome a recover which can only benefit industry, employment and, above all, the mood of the thousands of owners who make all this possible.