Heads will turn out on the water this summer with the arrival of high-end American boat brand, Crownline to our shores.
Award winning Hawkes Bay company Euro City Ltd has secured the distribution rights to Crownline boats and that means one thing for people out on the water. Boat envy just got real.
Entrepreneur and managing director of Euro City, Terry Elmsly says he had a choice of boat manufacturers to distribute, but in the end, it came down to two important factors.
"I ran with the boat that in my view is most suitable for the New Zealand market. I also have a passion for beautiful things. My mother will tell you I have been like this since I was little. Because I deal in high end cars, I struggle with something that represents mediocrity and so I chose Crownline because of the quality it represents."
Crownline made a brief appearance in the country in the early 1990's. Since then, the Illinois company has changed ownership, undergone a large restructure and evolved into one of America's most respected brands.
"The construction methods the company uses are exceptional. It doesn't cut corners and the quality is all there. When the first shipment arrived in July, I was totally blown away by how good the boats actually are. The level of fitment inside them is sensational. Then when you put them in the water - the ride is something else," says Elmsly.
Recently he took a group of boating journalists and staff out to test a Bow Rider. "The waters were choppy at Gulf Harbour and people were warning us not to take it out. But we got back, and nobody was wet. Everybody was blown away with how good the boat was in the rough."
There are some very good-looking boats in the range, he says, and clients are spoilt for choice with 35 model derivatives. The vessels range from 19 to 35 feet and can be speced to suit individual requirements.
The 220CC Finseeker Centre Consul is perfect for a fish and standard features include engine options with 26 variants ranging from 175 to 300 horsepower. Twin Garmin 7 touchscreens, six built-in rod holders, six wet sound splash-proof speakers, aerated bait well and many, many more features will keep the family in comfort and safety without compromising fishability, says Elmsly.
"I recently sold a Finseeker to a Hawkes Bay local and rang him up to see how the fishing was going. He told me he was pinching himself - the boat is that good."
The smooth ride on rough waters is almost a metaphor for Elmsly's business attitude.
While many businesses are hunkering down in response to Covid, Elmsly has taken the gloves off and by expanding his luxury car dealership into the marine business.
Choppy waters are not something to fear with adaptation, planning and a vision.
"I never look at the negativity that life throws at you. Over the centuries there's been world wars and pandemics, but the sun always comes up at some point."
While Covid is this year's disaster, he believes the car industry faces more challenges with the electrification of the motor industry. Expansion into the marine industry by choosing a reputable boat manufacturer to partner with is his way of future proofing his staff and business with the challenges to come.
He believes automotive servicing will change with electrification and as a result up to 40% of his car servicing might be lost in the next decade.
"Being a realist, we are probably facing a downturn in our work, so we need to look at something else. If you take 30 to 40 percent of revenue away, you are facing a lot of unemployment. I'm attempting to future proof for my staff. I'm okay as I'm at the end of my career anyway, but my staff have to be able to work and keep going.
"I know from experience putting an Audi flag up doesn't necessarily mean you will get people flocking in the door straight away - you have to earn your position in the market."
The payoffs have already started with the expansion resulting in the company employing more staff and looking for more marine specialists to come on board. Orders for boats are coming in and as a result, Elmsly plans to focus on after sales care for Auckland clients.
He has successfully negotiated the acquisition of a marine business that has a 50 year history in the city. "The intention is to grow this business, retain staff and adopt the same principles of customer care of our award-winning Hawkes Bay base."
This attention to customer care will also include the addition of a marine shop to its inventory, "This is so we can offer customers everything they need from life jackets to anchors to keep them safe and having fun out on the water," says Elmsly.