Yachting Art Magazine

Major Ambitions of the Bénéteau Group for the American Market and its Site of Marion

Bénéteau Group, world number two in boating and sailing, just celebrated 30 years of its American industrial site of Marion (South Carolina). This is a good opportunity to raise a corner of the veil on its particularly ambitious plan for 2017-2020.

Major Ambitions of the Bénéteau Group for the American Market and its Site of Marion

Three years ago, Bénéteau certainly made the buzz in the United States by acquiring the American Group Rec Boats (Wellcraft, Glastron, Four Winns and Scarab), an acquisition that enabled the Group to establish its position on the other side of the Atlantic, despite the fact that the French group always had a major industrial site there for now 30 years. This site is now dedicated to play an increased role in the years to come.

It was for his 100th anniversary, in 1984, that the Vendée shipyard, Bénéteau, decided to set up an industrial plant in the United States, a decision that led to the creation of a factory, inaugurated two years later, in Marion, South Carolina.

Over this period, the factory produced nearly 9000 sailboats (8700) and contributed largely through its brands Bénéteau and Jeanneau that established a market dominance as the flagship marks of the American monohull sail to the influence of the French group on all the American continent.

Through Rec Boats, the Bénéteau Group, headquartered in Annapolis (Maryland), is also able to enjoy the Cadillac (Michigan) site, dedicated to motor boats. It is in this factory that the boats of the American brands Four Winns, Glastron, Wellcraft, and Scarab are assembled.

Bénéteau Group, a Key Player in Boating Industry in the USA 

Today, the French group employs close to 700 people across the Atlantic, making it one of the major players in the sector, both in motorboating and sailing, with the US market accounting for nearly 30% of its income!

This very strong position has led Bénéteau to place North America at the heart of its transformation plan: “Transform to Perform 2017-2020”.

In fact, the Group has strengthened its involvement in the United States through its American subsidiary that plays an enhanced role in coordinating the activities of all brands in North, Central, and South America.

At the same time, Bénéteau decided to expand its range of locally produced motorboats for the US market, to repatriate production from its Brazilian site to the United States, and to make significant investments in the training and skills development of its 700 American employees, but also in the modernization of its local industrial facilities.

How the French Group Counts on Innovation to Make the Difference

The year 2017 will be very rich in innovations for Bénéteau, innovations that should make the difference in the United States.

Thus, the Group is ready to present present a new and very surprising Oceanis, that offers variations of on-board configurations and equipment to satisfy the most demanding sailors, whether in cruise or in race performance.

In order to make yachting more accessible, the French announced the signature of an exclusive partnership agreement with SailTime. The members of this boat club will be able to sail on board of the New Bénéteau boats in the United States for a fraction of the cost of property.

In the sector of motorboats of the industry, two new products are expected to come in the Swift Trawler and Gran Turismo ranges that will make their debut respectively at the Fort Lauderdale and Miami Shows.
While the GT40 is winning the prizes in its category, the new Gran Turismo is preparing a "revolution in the US market for express cruisers" *.

An Unforgettable 2017 at Jeanneau and Prestige 

In the United States, Jeanneau is positioned as number two in the sailing market.

The Sun Odyssey 349, built at Marion, is the archetype of the family sailboat, embodying the pleasure and simplicity of navigation, while the new Jeanneau Yacht 51 marked the spirits, joining the exclusive world of tall Jeanneau sailboats.

As to prove the dynamics of the brand in the engine market, Jeanneau presented the whole of its engine range on the main nautical shows.

As for Prestige, the results are impressive: in only 5 years, Prestige Yachts has firmly established itself on the list of the best sales of motor yachts luxury. After the onslaught of the 50-55-foot segment, they now ambition larger units.

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