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Author Topic:   Boat Dealer Engine Preferences
jcdawg83 posted 08-18-2015 09:33 AM ET (US)   Profile for jcdawg83  
Yesterday morning I was talking with a client who owns a boat dealership that sells Yamaha, Suzuki, Evinrude and Mercury engines. I asked which engine he liked best. With no hesitation he said Yamaha. He quickly followed up by saying all the engines are good engines and the boat owner will get good service out of all of them, but Yamaha was by far the easiest to deal with regarding parts and warranty. He said Suzuki was the second easiest and they were coming on strong in products and support. Evinrude third, and Mercury a distant fourth. He said Mercury was a royal pain to deal with because Brunswick is so big.

He said Yamaha cost 8 to 10-percent more than the other brands, but most people would pay the extra for a Yamaha engine.

jimh posted 08-18-2015 09:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
That dealer seems to tell a similar story to a local dealer here in SE Michigan. That dealership sold Mercury-only for about 40-years. Now they sell Yamaha and Mercury, with a increasing percentage of their business going to Yamaha. The owner also told the same story: Yamaha made it easy for the dealer to do business with them.
weekendwarrior posted 08-18-2015 12:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for weekendwarrior  Send Email to weekendwarrior     
I've owned a small online retail business for about 12 years now and the one thing I've learned is watching the pennies too closely actually alienates customers and dealers. Better customer service might appear to cost more on the paperwork for that quarter, but when you step back and look at the whole picture, better service will actually pay for itself and then some. For example, i manufacture some of my products, and if a customer has a problem, even if I know it's likely their fault and I'll lose money on THAT sale, I'll replace the product without question at no cost to the customer. The result is I get lots of glowing recommendations on social media and it really increases business. I might have lost a few bucks on that sale, but the good publicity actually leads to more profit than if I refused to help the customer to maintain my profit on that sale. Brunswick needs to realize this.

My guess is Brunswick probably has a lot of structure and red tape designed to watch the pennies so they don't appear to be wasting money on paper, but in the real world the hassle they're causing is alienating some customers and dealers, and they share their opinions with others. My guess is if they loosened up and covered more questionable warranty claims, etc.. it would probably look like a loss on paper for a couple of quarters, but would make then more money by way of loyal customers and dealers in the long run.

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