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Author Topic:   J.D. Power Announces Boston Whaler #2 against Grady White
InHerNet posted 01-28-2002 09:26 AM ET (US)   Profile for InHerNet   Send Email to InHerNet  
J.D. Power and Associates Announces Results of Inaugural Marine Industry Customer Satisfaction Study.

hauptjm posted 01-28-2002 10:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
I wonder where Mako falls? Does the manufacturer have to participate or is it based on sales figures? Has Mako's sales fallen below an amount that drops it from consideration? Just curious!
sorcerer posted 01-28-2002 11:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for sorcerer    
Old news!

Since last Fall GW has been using this result in most all their ads for months now.

JD Powers doesn't state how they obtained the list of owners which received the survey forums. Forums sent/given out were voluntarily filled out and return by the consumer.

You can purchase the entire survey results which include the number of responses for each boat brand, if you want to spend some decent bucks for it.

Since this survey was based solely on recent purchases in my mind it is meaningless. What folks really need to know is if there is a longer term satisfaction associated with a particular brand and its dealer. Say after the warranty period has expired

Ventura16 posted 01-28-2002 02:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura16  Send Email to Ventura16     
I believe the survey questionaires were sent to all new purchasers of the brands in question. I received one (and returned it) in late 2000. I agree that it would have been more useful to survey longterm owners...but I believe it was intended to be an "Initial satisfaction" survey. My boat hadn't even been in for service once at the time of the survey. BTW, I also received questionaires from Whaler and from Mercury...mostly centered around the quality of my dealer's service and initial commissioning of the boat.


sorcerer posted 01-28-2002 02:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for sorcerer    
Industry fights new "lemon" law

This is something which consumers of boats might want to ponder.

hauptjm posted 01-28-2002 04:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
I'll bet Mercury is glad Juriproodinz didn't buy his Opti's under this proposed law. Imagine, they would have had to respond in a timely manner. Comments like the dealer saying he would close his shop because no one would want to do business in the state, is a window into the mindset of the industry. I hate over-regulation as much as anyone. But a "lemon law" would do nothing more than light a fire underneath the manufacturers and dealers to hold up their end of the bargain. The consumer buys the product (and typically pays additional for an extended warranty) that protects this large purchase. So many dealers and manufacturers today basically are walking away from their obligation. The consumer has to resort to the courts (boo, hiss) to resolve the conflict.
lhg posted 01-28-2002 04:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
The NMMA states "the bill would be detimental to the Marine Industry in South Carolina." The other side of this is: With no such lemon law, things must be detrimental to the marine consumer! Wonder why they're so afraid of having to stand behind their products? Fighting a lemon law would seem to be bad press for a manufacturer. Why don't they want it? Supporting a lemon law would seem to re-inforce the idea that one's products are good.
blackdog posted 01-29-2002 09:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
I wonder what the big 3 automakers said when lemon laws came into existence?
hauptjm posted 01-29-2002 10:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
I asked a friend in the automobile business here in Louisiana, and his comment on our lemon law was positive. Basically, he said if you are an honest dealer, you have no problems. In fact, it weeds out the no-counts, which harms the overall industry. Further, it is his understanding that the law has been applied to other "similar" (motorcycle, boats) industries with success.

Frankly, I'm surprised (naive?) that the NMMA would take such a stance. I believe that if the general public heard of this through traditional media sources, they would take a different approach. Unfortunately, the very large majority of the boating public doesn't have the desire to educate themselves in things marine. They're loss.

hauptjm posted 01-29-2002 10:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Jurisproodenz posted 01-29-2002 12:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
Lemon law: anti-dealer / manufacturer legislation. Let's enact one!!

Seriously, though, it is precisely the marine industry's attitude which causes a failure in consumer confidence. Imagine a car manufacturer that "tested" products on consumers... they'd go out of business (or face class actions). Here is a novel placement for a fuel tank: oops they tend to cause explosions in accidents ... familiar?

Instead, here is a novel fuel system: hey! These motors grenade on transoms! Or, let's inject fuel directly into the cylinders: what? This doesn't work? Repair it under warranty, when you get around to it. Meanwhile, [fill in the blank with the name of your favorite boating magazine] will print reports telling everyone how great these motors are. Great! Ring the cash register, 'cause the marine consumer has no rights! Single clamp those through hulls, use plastic, forget bonding, screw the deck to the hull, don't waste time glassing in that plywood, floatation is for sissies, use cheap fittings that rust.

Sorry, I start to rant a smidgeon. One of the reasons we buy Whalers (and Grady's, I suppose) is that through their reputation we try and avoid the lemon problem. Where (or if) Whaler starts hiding behind the lack of consumer protection laws, ultimately they will cause the demise of the brand.

Brunswick (listen up): don't start making SeaRays with foam and calling them Whalers. And don't hang junk on the transom just because you happen to build the junk in a different division. Stand behind the product of your own free will (and make your dealers do likewise) then farces like Grady as #1 will be things of the past.

A rant and 2 cents later....

dscew posted 01-29-2002 02:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for dscew    
I don't understand why Grady being #1 is a farce. It's a very well-built boat, about the same rugged quality as Pursuit, another premium boat right up there with Whaler. Any of these three could easily be #1, in my opinion. Whaler could learn a few things from the manufacturing community, too; they're no saints either. And I dearly love my Whaler! No offense intended...
whalernut posted 01-29-2002 05:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalernut  Send Email to whalernut     
I agree, I would buy a New Grady-White 180 Sportsman before a New Whaler. I would not have said that 15 years ago. Jack.
Jurisproodenz posted 01-29-2002 11:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jurisproodenz  Send Email to Jurisproodenz     
Let me clarify somewhat. As far as it goes, I don't think that Gradys are as good as they are made out to be when you look at their fit and finish, especially when you look at their wiring, finish of glass on interior surfaces, etc. (admission: I have not been on any more recent than 1998 or so). I also don't like the ride you get at the helm -- you are typically so far forward on their walkarounds that you feel somewhat more beaten up than necessary (perhaps a necessary evil of the walkaround concept). I tend to feel that there is some sort of reverence when people mention Grady-White that is not necessarily merited -- sort of like the dogged belief in the "wisdom" of buying a Honda car (oh, boy... now I am asking for it!!) and now even perhaps with regard to a Whaler. Alas.

BUT, If the astute reader looks to the paragraph above the opinion of farce in my previous post, they will see a grudging admission that people buy Whalers and Gradys for pretty much the same reasons and same appreciation of quality. This is an implicit agreement with the sentiment that is leveled against the posting....

So what about the farce: that Brunswick can so have lost track of the ball that people are in the position of rating Gradys more highly than Whalers. The rant is mainly directed to Brunswick. Would you have expected that result 15 years ago? Have Grady merely caught up to a finite level of achievable quality? Or has Brunswick simply failed to move the ball out of Grady (and Pursuit)'s reach. My guess is more probably the later.

I also suspect that there is also a problem with the way that these surveys are conducted -- apart from the statistical process, there is a failure to take into account the type of person who would be a respondent -- a psychodynamic failure, if you will. I wonder if someone could break down the nature of the Grady buyer versus the Whaler or any other buyer to determine their experience level and other demographics: that is, do they know what the heck they are talking about when they consider their newly purchased boat? How many boats have they owned before buying a NEW Grady? Do they know the difference? Have they been out in a Regulator before saying that their Grady handles well -- what is their reference of comparison? Have they seen how an Intrepid's systems are laid out before commenting on the fit and finish of the Grady? And so on. In my books most of these surveys and magazine reviews are highly suspect (so I should probably not get so worked up about them).

Just to make myself clear (as mud): I rather admire Gradys as a good looking and competently built boat (though I bought a Whaler) they seem like nice boats. I just can't conceive of where I would actually buy one ... given different sets of mission needs, I come up with different boats every time. None being Gradys, especially with price factored in. But #1, irrespective of what the surveys must represent, is an affront to Whaler lovers. Though I said it before already; don't go out and build SeaRays with foam and call them Whalers.

So I have donned a flame-retardant suit in anticipation of assault!!

jimh posted 01-30-2002 01:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
These J. D. Power ratings do seem to get people--manufacturers, dealers, boaters--worked up. They seem to have the same effect in the car business. I have made a lot of closed-circuit television presentations for car dealers talking about how to get the customer satisfaction index (CSI) higher.

I don't know if J. D. Power results actually measure quality, they just measure the buyer's perception of quality. So if Grady buyers perceived more quality and were more satisfied than Whaler buyers, that's what it was, a perception.

I also think the J. D. Power guys know how to get the tail wagging the dog, or the dog chasing its tail. They tantilize the public and the companies with announcements of the results. The winner buys into it immediately to use as a marketing endorsement. Next thing you know every ad for the winner's boat has some insert with a blurb about "No. 1 in J. D. Power survey."

That forces everyone else into the game, trying to oust the winner so they can stake a claim to being No. 1 in the survey and use it in their advertising.

In all of this does the quality go up? Hard to say.

Whaler probably has to buy the (very expensive) whole survey resuls to find out what element they scored lower. After writing a big check to J. D. Power they find out that it was some stupid thing like the color of their carpet that cost them.

Next year all the boats get new carpet, maybe even pre-tested by another J. D. Power survey to see what scores best.

There was a great article in the WSJ last week about how car companies, particularly luxury car brands like Mercedes, are now testing for how things sound. They get a panel of people and let them listen to different sounds of accessories like electric window motors. When the survey panel indicates a certain motor has the best sound, that is the sound they try to get in their car window motors. Same for other elements in the car, especially the engine sounds. It has to have the right note or it sounds cheap or junky. Again, these are all preceptions of quality. It might be that the best window motor does not sound good, so they use another one!

Crazy business!

hauptjm posted 01-30-2002 11:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
When it comes to dollars, perception is reality!
Bob K posted 02-05-2002 06:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bob K  Send Email to Bob K     
I think that "hauptjn" has it right. Here, in the lower Chesapeake, the new boat buyers look at what is on the water, and the biggest seller probably is GW. But there are always the independents who want to try everything from the go-fasts to the I-can-aford-its.
When you are out there in the not-so-fun-weather the brands really come down to a chosen few. Must tell you something!
I fish with buddies on an older Mako 20', A GW 20' WA and my Shamrock 22' WA. All sound vssels. What handles best in the bouncy water, the Shamrock. What handles worst, the GW.
Didn't say, but I also have a BW 13'. What boat is most fun? Of course, the BW 13'.
Bob K posted 02-05-2002 06:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bob K  Send Email to Bob K     
Forgot to mention, there is nothing quite like riding a submarine wake, especially a boomer, in a BW 13'.
lhg posted 02-06-2002 07:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Speaking of sounds, don't pound too hard on the side of a Grady. It' sure doesn't sound solid like my Whaler.

When I last bought Whalers in 1986 and 1989, the Grady was no comparison, and a lot less money also. So it is sad to see the dulling down of Whaler's reputation. Then there was the time, fairly recently, when I easily blew right past a same size Grady Walkaround in 6' seas with my 25 Outrage. The people in the Grady looked in amazement as we went by.

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