White Shark, a mythical brand difficult to establish
French Boat Market has been importing eight foreign brands of motor boats and RIBs into France since 1993, including Galeon Yachts, Numarine, Nuova Jolly, Rodman and Northstar. But the company based in Mandelieu-la-Napoule in the south of France has just announced the acquisition of a mythical French brand, White Shark.
Since its birth in the 90s, the White Shark brand has undergone many successive takeovers. The last one was in 2016, and yet it allowed the relaunch of a new model, the White Shark 300, in December 2017. But this was not enough to put the shark brand back on track.
Thus, French Boat Market bought the boats' mussels and the brand, but not the 1?500 m2 hangar located on the island of Oléron where the boats had been built until now. The company is currently studying various possibilities for the resumption of production. "France is a possibility." explains Kevin Pittet, the company's commercial director.
Organize production and develop a network
If the company is accustomed to importing, this is the first time it has had its own brand, as the sales manager explains.
"This is our first acquisition. As importers, we have the knowledge to manage a distribution network, but also to develop the boats. The DNA of French Boat Market is to adapt to the markets. We are not simple importers, we play a role in the evolution of the products we import. We have a real know-how of the market and the way the French use their boats, to offer them a suitable product."
If the buyback is effected, it is only on the premise. Thus, the company is working on the creation of various partnerships to relaunch the brand: production, designers, distribution network..
A design that will evolve to become a premium brand
In addition to the industrial implementation, French Boat Market is also working on a market study to optimise the boats.
" These boats are quite spacious and have an incredible hull, but we're certainly going to make the design evolve and bring a bit of modernity. We are studying what customers expect from a White Shark. Between American Fishing boats such as the Scout, Pursuit or Boston Whaler and dayboats such as Jeanneau's Cap Camarat, there is no alternative on the market. This is the market we want to be in."
It is therefore on the "premium" dayboat market that White Shark wishes to position itself, targeting Cap Camarat owners who wish to move towards a more luxurious boat, but also former owners of White Shark, with a more modern and evolved boat.
Complete the range and compete with the American market
The brand intends to compete with its American neighbours (Boston Whaler), which are taxed by a 25% customs tariff, and its Polish neighbour, owned by a US group (Quicksilver), to become a French pillar of the European market for fishing boats, thanks to the brand's reputation and the marine qualities of the hull.
"This acquisition will enable us to strengthen our brands and perfectly complements our ranges. We have semi-rigid boats (Nuova Jolly, Northstar), classic rigid hulls (Galia, Roadman), but also American brands (Pursuit, Scout Boats) and luxury stars (Galeon and Numarine). White Shark is exactly the market segment that was not yet working on rigid hulls. Brand awareness takes a long time to build, with White Shark, we already have that." details Kevin Pittet.
French Boat Market hopes to present a first new generation model at the Paris 2020 boat show.