Underlying the multiple product launches on the METS stand of Dometic Group this year is significant change of marketing emphasis by the Swedish producer of mobile refrigeration, climate control, cabin sanitation and galley equipment. No fewer than seven new product families were given their trade debut. But whereas Dometic in the past has focused its marketing effort almost entirely on boatbuilders, most of these new products are designed for fitting by boating consumers.
Kester Petersson, aftermarket manager Marine Europe with Dometic, said that the group decided to develop its aftermarket business two years ago when it acquired the German mobile refrigeration group Waeco. "We looked through the group's portfolio and looked for aftermarket potential. But Dometic's marine business had centred around the Marine Air, Cruisair and Condaria air conditioning brands which were sold almost entirely into the OEM market," he says. "We didn't feel that we had the muscle to push out the consumer. Conversely, Waeco had plenty of expertise in this area."
Dometic has launched major items of equipment that the vast majority of boat owners would not have considered trying to fit themselves a few years ago. "Now that the market has turned down these attitudes are changing," Petersson says. "We've made systems simpler for the consumer to fit. Everything is pre-fitted and pre-tested in our factories so that consumers can be confident that it will work properly when they come to fit it," he adds.
New lines for do-it-yourself-minded consumers include holding tanks and associated plumbing, pumps and fittings kits for boats of up to 60ft as well as gas cookers, sinks and even air conditioning systems. Most lines are standardised and packaged with easy-to-follow instructions so it's easier for dealers to sell them. A new 200-page catalogue aimed at end-users will be published in time for this winter's boat shows.
With the global economic downturn of recent months and falls in the numbers of new boats being built these days, Dometic must feel that its decision to pursue the consumer market has been vindicated. "In times like these the aftermarket is not so slow compared with the OEM market," Petersson says.
News taken from IBI Magazine