Monday, June 1, 2009

They made enough boats

Early last year, we had the fleeting good fortune to be working with America’s biggest boating company - just in time to see the whole thing go kebang.

Here’s what happened to the boating industry: If a boat owner couldn’t cough up hundreds of dollars for gas to go out for a couple hours (remember the price of gas last summer?), the worse news was, they couldn’t get rid of the damn dinosaur, either. Nor could they trade up or down.

Because no dealer in the country was taking trade-ins.

It turns out boats have a surprising longevity. Not much can go wrong with them that can’t be switched out. And boat companies had never designed fashion statements into their product, not ones obvious to the passerby, anyway, and so there is no stigma in rolling up to a marina in a thirty year old yacht.

So pretty much all the boats that ever needed to be built have been built already.

The whole industry got gridlocked. Factories closed down, entire companies, too - brands that have been around for decades.

Now, on the eve of GM’s bankruptcy filing, some are wondering if the same thing is happening in the auto industry.

In our long, long stay at the all-you-can-eat buffet, what else do we have enough of?

Image by Pinot & Dita

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