Four Winns, Glastron share results of $8 million in product development
There’s a recovery coming in boating and the reinvigorated Four Winns and Glastron brands are well-positioned to take advantage of it, says Rec Boat Holdings President Roch Lambert
“We just need a little wind in our sails for this thing to turn even better than everyone expects,” Lambert says. “If we combine a little excitement from the consumer with an impressive line of products, this could be very exciting for our company.”
The industry veteran has been leading Rec Boat Holdings for the last two years after Platinum Equity bought the brands, as well as Wellcraft, out of the Genmar bankruptcy. Rec Boat Holdings just completed its first combined dealer meeting for the brands earlier this week.
Over the last two years, the company has invested $8 million in product development. This year, Rec Boat Holdings is introducing 28 new boats across the Four Winns and Glastron lines. It’s a much needed move after years of little to no investment in product development, Lambert says.
“Because of the financial problems Genmar had they had cut back significantly in investing,” he says. “It was one of the things that people were criticizing us for in a huge way.”
(Wellcraft is not as far along in the process, but more investment is coming there, as well, the company says.)
Lambert challenged the design and engineering team, led by vice president Christophe Lavigne, to push the design envelope and create distinct identities for the two brands.
Glastron is being positioned as a sportier brand, harkening back to its 1970s-era legacy. The mandate was to design something nobody else has, hence the 16-foot GT 160 BR, Lavigne says. The look of that boat carries throughout the retro GT series. On the other hand, Four Winns is taking its visual cue from its largest boats like the Vista 435.
“We want the Four Winns brand to be elevated in perception,” Lambert says. “Taking influence from the bigger boats and taking it down to the smaller boats … will help us achieve that.”
The designs for both brands break out of the same-old, same-old that had been plaguing the industry over the last several years, Lambert says.
“They all looked the same, so ours is going to look different, but have a family look,” he says. “Christophe’s team came up with lines that we believe will be more modern and push the envelope.”
One example of that is the new RS model, aimed squarely at the younger buyer, with a modern color scheme inspired by running shoes.
Lambert says the company is also looking to continue growing, possibly through more acquisitions if they complement the company’s current offerings, such as in the ski segment.
“The Platinum Equity folks want to play a significant role in the industry,” he says. “The odds are pretty high that we’ll be extending our reach, but we’re going to do what makes sense and fits with what we’re trying to accomplish.”