What We Are Watching

From the Lighthouse

What We Are Watching

Recently, Northpoint Sr VP Business Development Russell Baqir was interviewed by Kim Sweers on the popular Boat Boss Podcast during the Ft Lauderdale International Boat Show. Kim asked Russell a series of compelling questions regarding the economy, boat buyer activity at the show and what’s on the horizon ahead that generated a lot of interest … and ROBUST views … 1.2k in fact, at press time.

For this issue of Northpoint Navigator, we’re pleased to provide a link to the 9.5 minute podcast for customers who may have missed it and are interested in hearing the entire podcast, along with some key highlights pulled directly from the story.

From the Lighthouse


Kim Sweers (KS): What’s the buzz at the show among dealers?

Russell Baqir: (RB): Very positive. First day of the show, most everyone had a few boats sold. Good impact so far. Show has been busy, positive activity.

KS: Any boat class seeming to sell more than the others?

RB: Yachts are taking the lead right now. Higher-end product seems to be holding its own. People with cash are out buying.

KS: What’s the financing environment looking like?

RB: Little bit slower. We’ve seen a step back on the buyer that usually qualifies on personal credit – they’re taking their time, spending a lot more time researching. Dealers that are doing well are putting in a lot of effort, time, marketing, spending time with the customer …

KS: Boat club/rentals – seems like a great way for client to enjoy boating while waiting for interest rates to come down.

RB: We’ve seen the boat club side thriving, as people are buying time into clubs. Rental is picking up as well. More and more dealers are leaning on a rental fleet so they can convert their inventory into some type of revenue-yielding product.

KS: Interest rates a big hot spot now … inching up: what do you think is going to happen? See any increases in the future?

RB: Potentially another increase … there’s been a rumor of it for a little while. In talking to CFOs and to other people in the industry who have very good knowledge … the anticipation is that the fed will probably reduce rates somewhere in the late second quarter; there’s a belief that’s going to happen. Market has already told the fed it’s gone too far and too long. We may be slow this year on the sales cycle but hopefully we will see that turnaround next year. This is a good time to make deals, improve your processes, invest in your people and to take care of the things you need to because when the slowdown turns around, it’s going to go back up. Dealers are going to be very busy again.