SEA RAY: AN INCREASINGLY UP-THRUST

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In the past, Sea Ray suggested small 100% American style motorboats, designed for the boundless inner waters of USA. Those small boats made Sea Ray great in the world. But things have changed in recent years.

While remaining at the top of the international production of small boats, the company of Sarasota is aiming higher and higher. Its production enlarged towards bigger sizes (its flagship is a 65′) and, two years ago, the new L-Class series, including L 650, 650 Fly (in the photos), 590 and 590 Fly, was born.

Mind you, Sea Ray is not a novice in the production of big yachts, considering that it has already produced some powerful “long seller” models like 680 Sunsport, 610 and 580. But it’s clear that now the “up-thrust” is very strong.

L650Fly-

On the market, Sea Ray’s image has changed quickly, its “big boats” dominate boat shows around the world and it is no coincidence that its new 400 and 510 Sundancer will be presented at Cannes Collection 2016 next June, at the first edition of an event gathering the excellence of clocks, planes, helicopters, private jets, boats and luxury racing cars. The transformation of the American brand is important to study, not only to understand what is happening within Sea Ray (part of the company Brunswick) but also because its entrance in high-level production is an event destined to influence market forces.

We met Luca Brancaleon (Director of international sales for Sport Yachts and Yachts of Sea Ray).

– Sea Ray is taking forward an impressive work towards the production of bigger and bigger boats. How does this trend influence the company’s organisation and identity?

It’s an operation we hade studied for a long time and we have been taking forward for years. The birth of L-class, which has its first official presentation in Europe at the Boat Show of Cannes last September, is the most evident signal of this trend. But now even the structure of the company itself has taken a new direction in order to support this transformation.
– Can you tell it?
There are a President and two Vice-presidents, one deals with small boats: Sport, Sport Cruisers up to 40 feet, while the other one deals with Sport Yachts and yachts. So, there are two well-defined categories and two divisions within the company.
Must we expect a new brand,too? 
Certainly not now. It’s a distinction which aims to let the two souls of the same brand run on parallel rails
The official recognising of a necessary process..

I’d say yes, specialisation is absolutely required. It’s clear that we can’t follow he same production processes of a 19-foot boat on a 65′. We have separated categories, even on the level of production sites. Most of small models are produced in Europe for the European market, while the big ones are built in USA, even if also Europeans ask for big yachts.

Il nuovo Sea Ray 450, lanciato all'ultimo salone di Miami.
Il nuovo Sea Ray 450, lanciato all’ultimo salone di Miami.

Oh yeah, Europe… a very competitive market.. What are your ace cards?
First of all the financial efforts for this project. This means to maintain the final price competitive despite dollar fluctuations. Then, of course, our iconic high quality. Our project is medium-term. We know that it’s hard in Europe, but we are starting to sell more models with great satisfaction. Small numbers, at least for the moment, but we are satisfied.
In Europe, especially in Italy, most of competition is about design. For the interiors of 510 ( in the photos below) you have already worked in collaboration with a famous brand, Christian Grande. Must we expect something similiar for exteriors, too?
Absolutely not, they will be always Made in USA.
And as regards interiors, new collaborations?
Why not?
In this hard competition in Europe, who do you consider your direct opponents?

It’s easier to get some numbers from who already sells a lot, by aiming to distinguish ourselves through quality, solidity, lasting, performance and by making design more European. French shipbuilders are strong in Europe and they are growing on the international market.

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