ONE on ONE Interview

‘ONE-on-ONE’ Interview with Dave Hoets, Dealer Principal at Honda Marine Knysna

Dave Hoets

Over the next few months we’ll be conducting interviews with the key personnel who have helped to make Honda Marine the fastest growing outboard engine brand in South Africa. For their comments and insights into both current and future trends within the marine industry, check out the full interviews here on the Honda Marine Blog.


1. Being the longest serving Honda Marine dealer, how have you found the Honda product?
I have always been a Honda fan, I believe in the product and it’s never let me down. Even the new products, particularly of late the Honda BF250HP outboard, are technologically more advanced and far superior to anything else on the market.
2. What’s it like being involved in the Marine industry during these difficult economic times?
It’s been extremely tough, margins have sunk and boat prices have increased, there are however signs of the marine industry leveling out and stabilizing a little, after what has been a very erratic period.

Honda Marine Knysna

3. How do you see the Marine industry going forward? Where is your primary market focus going to be?
We’re looking at new markets in Africa where I believe that the new ranges of imported aluminium boats can play an important role. Due to their many inherent benefits, Aluminium boats are currently the fastest growing market in the world, so it’s really a case of finding the right opportunities.

Aluminium boats bringing new opportunities

Our primary boating partners, Angler Boats, are also introducing a number of new boats which, being such an established marine brand in South Africa, will bring more possibilities.

At Honda Marine we’re also fortunate to have available the exciting range of imported-from-the USA Chaparral and Robalo boats which have stirred up a lot of interest, coupled with some sales in what is still very much a new market for us.

Chaparral 224 Xtreme - exciting imported sport boats from the USA

4. What have proven to be the most popular Honda-powered boat packages in your area of operation?
Based on our location we’re fortunate to have both inland and offshore application opportunities in terms of where our customers largely want do their boating. We therefore sell boats right across the board.

The majority are either Angler Boats’ bowriders or offshore vessels, although we also sell a lot of RIBS ranging in size from 4.7m to 7.5m, enjoying good relationships with both Infanta and Gemini.

Angler Boats Benguela 17

5. What do Customers say about the Honda Marine outboards, is there a lot of product loyalty?
Certainly the customers are very loyal to the Honda product, particularly as it just doesn’t give any problems. What’s really satisfying though is that this product loyalty extends even deeper, and becomes a major factor in allowing us as a marine dealer to build extremely strong relationships with our customers.

"We're constantly striving to improve upon our customer service standards"

6. Have you been able to establish key partnerships in your local area (eg. Local community involvements/ Angling Clubs/ NSRI/ other…)
Since opening our doors we’ve been closely involved with SANParks who are responsible for the Knysna Lagoon. We’ve supported them (together with Honda Marine SA’s assistance) with outboard engines for both policing and research activities.

We’ve also been very involved with the supply of outboard engines to the Fisheries Protection Vessels of the Marine & Coastal Management Divison of DAFF (Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries) that do such a superb job in patrolling and protecting the SA coastline.

Fisheries Protection Vessels protecting our coastline

Out most recent success was to help organize and coordinate the supply of twin Honda BF135HP outboard engines on the new Gemini RIB rescue boat that has recently taken up residence with the NSRI in Plettenberg Bay.

7. The Way Forward
In a small town like Knysna and with no other Honda Marine dealers close by, we’ve almost had to run our business more as a General dealer, carrying a larger amount of stock than perhaps other shops, as we need to be able to cater for the individual boating requirements of our customers.

Also the establishment of our ‘Accessories & Lifestyle Centre’ has proven very successful and has become an important part of our overall business. It’s an area that we’re constantly developing and getting better and better at.

Accessories & Lifestyle Centre proving a great success

What’s most important is that each and every day we strive to offer all our customers a happy boating experience.

CONTACT DETAILS

Honda Marine Knysna
E-Mail: info@hondamarineknysna.co.za
Tel.: 044 382 4090

Happy experiences on the water is what it's all about...

 

 

 

 

ONE on ONE INTERVIEWS

‘ONE-on-ONE’ Interview with Eamon Scott, Dealer Principal at Honda Marine St Francis

Eamon Scott - Dealer Principal at Honda Marine St Francis

Over the next few months we’ll be conducting interviews with the key personnel who have helped to make Honda Marine one of the the fastest growing outboard engine brands in South Africa. For their comments and insights into both current and future trends within the marine industry, check out the full interviews on the Honda Marine Blog.

1. Are you happy with your decision to open a Honda Marine Dealership?
To say I am happy with our decision to open a Honda Marine Dealership in 2011 would be the understatement of the decade for me. The product is simply superb in every respect, giving unrivalled fuel economy, reliability and smooth power delivery. The only big drawback is that we are not selling spare parts as they simply don’t break!

The enthusiasm and professionalism of the staff at Honda Head Office in Midrand is also amazing. I am a relative newcomer to this industry and have come to rely heavily on their advice and support, which has been unstinting.

We are also fortunate to benefit from another important part of our overall business operation, namely our safe and secure boat storage facility that has done much to cement both our business name and reputation locally.

Honda Marine St Francis storage facility

2. New Developments at Honda Marine St Francis
In the Dealership we have had some changes recently, the main one being Warren Rachman’s decision to move on to pastures new at the end of January. I bought this business as a complete outsider just over 3 years ago and my business partner Warren has helped me enormously in terms of technical and industry knowledge right from the start. His sister Julie and I thank him for his key contribution to the establishment of Honda Marine St. Francis and all the staff join us in wishing him well for the future.

Honda Marine St Francis offering a comprehensive service to customers

Warren leaves big shoes to fill, but I can confirm that plans are at a very advanced stage to appoint a strong Technical Director with the required industry and workshop management experience. I am confident of our ability to continue to provide our customers with the highest standards of technical service and support.

3. What’s it like being involved in the Marine industry during these difficult economic times?
In a weak economic environment I think a big challenge for all of us is the inflationary pressure partly brought on by the weak Rand. We have to balance the protection of our margins against not over-pricing our products which are, after all, almost exclusively imported. However as a foreigner, I also see worrying signs of home-grown, self-inflicted cost inflation… mistakes made many times in various other countries, but which we seem determined to repeat here. As far as economic policy is concerned there is also a conspicuous leadership vacuum, and a mish-mash of mixed messages being sent out.

4. How do you see the Marine industry going forward? Where is your primary market focus going to be?
There are however some tempting prizes on offer unique to the South African market. I have gone on record before as saying that I believe the route to glory in this industry, which will give us unparalleled growth for decades to come, is to sell the lifestyle to the major previously disadvantaged social groups. How to do this is another matter, but we must address this urgently and with all our might. The potential rewards are so enormous and the risks of failing to do so could be disastrous. As Soichiro Honda himself once said, ‘I failed in 99% of my attempts in order to succeed in the remaining 1%.’ We ourselves already have several of these customers here, but all of us need a lot more.

Just some of the team at Honda Marine St Francis

The other opportunity will be provided by continuing worldwide environmental pressures to phase out 2-stroke motors, and by their poor performance in terms of fuel economy, both of which areas are key Honda strengths.

5. What have proven to be the most popular Honda-powered boat packages in your area of operation?
We have 2 main markets in St. Francis Bay, namely the fishing market and the ski-boat market, and these are reflected in what we sell. Pairs of 40’s, 50’s and 60’s are popular, as are single motors in the 135 to 150HP range. Small motors in the range of 5 to 15hp are also sought-after in the St. Francis canal area for small utilities and ducks.

6. What do Customers say about the Honda Marine outboards, is there a lot of product loyalty?
We have been astonished by the degree of customer loyalty right from the very first day. When we launched as Honda Marine St. Francis we met all sorts of people who came in expressing their pleasure that they now had a Honda Main Dealer in their area, and all of whom told us how delighted they were with their motors. If anyone thinks, ‘Well he would say that wouldn’t he’, I challenge them to find Honda motors on sale second-hand, which tells its own story.

Locals excited to have Honda 4-stroke advanced technology outboards available locally

7. Have you been able to establish key partnerships in your local area (eg. Local community involvements/ Angling Clubs/ NSRI/ other…)
We have excellent tie-ups with many local busineses, particularly all those involved either directly or indirectly in the marine business. Such is our standing that this month’s meeting of the local Business Forum will be held on our site.

Honda Marine St Francis supporting the local NSRI Golf Day

We also have very close ties with the local NSRI and have benefitted significantly from their commitment to re-equip with Honda motors, and work closely with them on servicing and technical support.

8. ‘The Way Forward’ after last year’s horrendous fire in St Francis
People from outside are always asking me what were the effects of the awful fire in November on our business. The answers are mixed, but certainly in the short-term the publicity seemed to bring a huge number of visitors to the area this year. While some boats that were destroyed are being replaced, others are being sold pending re-building of properties, so I think it is too early to decide definitely one way or the other. A few houses are not being re-built so there are some stunning, well-located plots available on the canals at great prices and I am sure this will attract new people to the area.

Last November's devastating fire in St Francis

Above all whatever your boating needs, if you’re either living in or visiting the St Francis area be sure to pay us a visit, we look forward to meeting you.

Honda Marine St Francis look forward to welcoming you...

CONTACT DETAILS – Honda Marine St Francis
E-Mail: eamon@hondamarinestfrancis.co.za
Tel.: 042 294 0961

 

 

 

ONE on ONE INTERVIEWS

‘ONE-on-ONE’ Interview with Craig Wilson, Dealer Principal at Honda Marine Durban

Craig and Lauren Wilson

Over the next few months we’ll be conducting interviews with the key personnel who have helped to make Honda Marine the fastest growing outboard engine brand in South Africa. For their comments and insights into both current and future trends within the marine industry, check out the full interviews on the Honda Marine Blog.

1. Are you happy with your decision to open a Honda Marine Dealership?
I’m very happy that I’ve been able to tie up with a highly respected and proven brand such as Honda. The superior quality, reliability, performance and fuel efficiency of their outboard engines is phenomenal. It’s a great product and run by some great people who’ve assisted me a lot in getting my Honda Marine dealership up and running. The biggest problem to date is keeping my workshop busy because we never see the Honda engines unless it’s for a rigging installation or a routine service, they’re just too reliable!
2. What’s it like being involved in the Marine industry during these difficult economic times?
It’s obviously been very hard and difficult, certainly not the easiest time to start up any kind of new business, let alone one in the marine industry, however I firmly believe that my love and passion for boating will over time see us through and make us successful.

Honda Marine Durban

3. How do you see the Marine industry going forward? Where is your primary market focus going to be?
At the moment it’s all a bit of a lottery as many marine dealerships in SA are discounting heavily, with many competitive brands giving product away. However, what is interesting is that Honda potential customers are very discerning and would rather purchase the product that they want for long-term use as opposed to going for a quick fix with a cheaper inferior product.

I also believe that SA boat manufacturers should not be allowed to retail outboard engines at all, and should rather concentrate all their efforts on building quality boats and supporting the outboard engine dealers.

From our side we have something very exciting happening in 2013, so keep watching this space, all will be revealed soon…

Honda Marine Durban - exciting plans for 2013...

4. What have proven to be the most popular Honda-powered boat packages in your area of operation?
At this stage the twin installation of Honda BF50HP to BF90HP outboards on offshore fishing boats have proven to be the most in demand overall packages.

Raptor 820 centre console powered by twin Honda BF150HP's

5. What do Customers say about the Honda Marine outboards, is there a lot of product loyalty?
Honda outboard engines are still relatively new to SA, so in some cases there is a mindset that has been established over time to be overcome. Once the customer has realized the tremendous overall benefits of owning a Honda, he or she will never look at another brand and will seriously ask themselves as to why they didn’t get a Honda even earlier.

In terms of loyalty it’s just essential that you, your staff and your overall dealership supplies your customers with excellence service at all times, and constantly endeavours to improve upon these levels, the rest will then fall into place on its own.

Once you've owned a Honda you'll never go back!

6. Have you been able to establish key partnerships in your local area (eg. Local community involvements/ Angling Clubs/ NSRI/ other…)
In our short period of operation we’ve established some good relationships with key local concerns, however these will move into full swing next year, so keep watching this space…

7. ANY OTHER IMPORTANT AREAS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADDRESS?
Certainly for anyone in the Durban area looking for reliability, performance and fuel efficiency, please pop into our showroom and come and discuss your outboard engine and overall boating needs, and we will strive to find you a solution to meet your individual application.

On a personal note, I’d just like to thank my gorgeous wife Lauren for believing in me and my dreams, and for all her support, especially when I go fishing with my fishing guru mate, Ross Leah.

Craig Wilson's fishing coach, the legendary Ross Leah

Above all we look forward to welcoming you to our shop…

CONTACT DETAILS – Honda Marine Durban
E-Mail: craig@hondamarinedbn.co.za
Tel.: 031 305 8735

 

 

 

ONE on ONE Interviews

‘ONE-on-ONE’ Interview with Jeremy Barnes, Dealer Principal at Honda Marine Somerset West

Jeremy Barnes

Over the next few months we’ll be conducting interviews with the key personnel who have helped to make Honda Marine the fastest growing outboard engine brand in South Africa. For their comments and insights into both current and future trends within the marine industry, check out the full interviews on the Honda Marine Blog.

1. Are you happy with your decision to open a Honda Marine Dealership?
Absolutely delighted, it is a privilege to be a dealer for a brand with such incredible product integrity. When one considers what Honda are doing for the environment through their Marine Protected Areas sponsorship, and the environmentally responsible way in which they conduct their business globally, I could not imagine being associated with another product.
2. What’s it like being involved in the Marine industry during these difficult economic times?
Having only entered the industry in 2010 we have never known any other conditions, so for us it is business as usual. What we have learned is that if you provide a service which meets or exceeds you clients expectations which is at a reasonable price the business will succeed.

The TEAM at Honda Marine Somerset West

3. How do you see the Marine industry going forward? Where is your primary market focus going to be?
What has become abundantly clear over the last 3 years is that the Marine industry is very firmly headed towards 4 stroke power, and with the fuel price ever on the up we would be very surprised if 4 stroke sales do not make up 90% of the total market within the next 3 years. In so far as our market focus, we have worked very hard at the commercial market and are starting to make reasonable inroads, and we will continue to focus on this sector of the market. The Marine industry like the motor industry was over dealerised but the recession has seen a high rate of attrition which is probably what the market needed to ensure that those left behind are feasible and in a position to provide a full service to the boating community. We believe that the Marine industry going forward will be represented by fewer full service dealerships, and by this we mean a dedicated Marine facility which offers the full spectrum of products and services associated with boats and boating, and then a number of “service agents” who would typically be a workshop and parts facility.

Honda Marine Somerset West

4. What have proven to be the most popular Honda-powered boat packages in your area of operation?
We have done very well with a couple of packages, predominantly from the Austral Marine stable, Odyssey 19 Offshore with Honda BF150, Odyssey 17 C/C with Honda BF115, and Benquela 530 Cat with 2 x Honda BF60’s, we have also done well with the Falcon Range of Semi Rigid Inflatables, and there has been very positive response to our unique Linder Range of Aluminium boats, which we have no doubt will become the bench against which all Aluminium Boats are measured. The Linder Range is exclusive to Honda Marine Somerset West in South Africa.

Honda Marine Somerset West prides themselves on their first rate Customer Service Centre

5. What do Customers say about the Honda Marine outboards, is there a lot of product loyalty?
Once a client has experienced the Honda Product I would say it is extremely unlikely that he/she will ever look elsewhere for a outboard solution. The durability and efficiency of the product, coupled with the unique features and innovation make the Honda product very difficult to beat, and when one considers cost of ownership the product has the ability to satisfy even the most discerning buyers needs.
6. Have you been able to establish key partnerships in your local area (eg. Local community involvements/ Angling Clubs/ NSRI/ other…)
We have a fantastic partnership with the Strand Surf Life Saving club, who do incredible work in the community and we are very proud to have been in a position to assist them with their boat and engine maintenance. The NSRI is another institution that we have got behind, both on a regional basis as well as locally with the Gordon’s Bay station receiving support from our dealership as well as from our principals, Honda Motors South Africa (PTY) Ltd.

Honda Marine Somerset West powering local NSRI rescue boats

7. ANY OTHER IMPORTANT AREAS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADDRESS?
We believe that we have been charged with the responsibility of looking after a clients most valuable commodity, their leisure time, it can not be exchanged or replaced and it is for this reason that we take what we do very seriously and have dedicated ourselves to Marine, that is all we do. Mistakes happen but it is how you rectify them that counts.

Whatever your Leisure Boating needs, Honda Marine Somerset West will find a solution

CONTACT DETAILS – Honda Marine Somerset West
E-Mail: jeremy@hondamarinecape.co.za
Tel.: 021 851 7710

 

 

 

ONE on ONE Interviews

‘ONE-on-ONE’ Interview with Doug Kemsley, Dealer Principal at Honda Marine Port Alfred

The Team at Honda Marine Port Alfred

Over the next few months we’ll be conducting interviews with the key personnel who have helped to make Honda Marine the fastest growing outboard engine brand in South Africa. For their comments and insights into both current and future trends within the marine industry, check out the full interviews on the Honda Marine Blog.

1. Are you happy with your decision to open a Honda Marine Dealership?
We are exceedingly pleased with our decision to open a Honda Marine dealership in Port Alfred. The Honda brand is well known, and our customers show an overwhelming loyalty to the brand. Our intention has always been to retail quality products only and Honda Marine’s proven outboards, Honwaves and Aquatrax are fully in line with our strategies. Honda has always only produced four-stroke motors and the future lies very much with four-stroke technology. Since our arrival in Port Alfred some five years ago, the growth in population of Honda products on craft off our shores and on the Kowie River has been dramatic.
2. What’s it like being involved in the Marine industry during these difficult economic times?
Although the economic times are tough at the moment, there are still die-hard skippers who’s love for boating will ensure nothing will pull them away from their passion. The Marine industry in Port Alfred is, however, mostly a leisure industry, and in these tough times many people do not have the disposable income for the luxury that boating is. One benefit is that it ensures the survival of the fittest, and weaker marine dealerships are going to the wall, leaving only the best, most solid and successful entities in place.  Customers will, in future, be assured of dealing with reputable marine dealerships.

Honda Marine Port Alfred

3. How do you see the Marine industry going forward? Where is your primary market focus going to be?
The future lies with performance, fuel-efficient four-stroke motors powering craft that handle well, whether they be for deep sea fishing purposes or for inland leisure boating, cruising or water sports. Backyard boat concepts, so prolific in South Africa, will slowly fall by the wayside to be replaced with better designed, engineered and stylish craft that feature high standards of finishes. In better times boat buyers will once again be able to afford and enjoy such locally made boats or their imported counterparts. The trend forward will be on outboards that are supremely fuel-efficient and that have long service intervals and low maintenance costs. The Hondas satisfy all these requirements and more.

From 2HP right up to 250HP, there's a Honda advanced technology 4-stroke outboard for every application...

4. What have proven to be the most popular Honda-powered boat packages in your area of operation?
The most popular Honda-powered boat packages in our area of operation have to be the Panache 1750 and 1950 for the inland water leisure boating and ski-ing fraternity. Deep sea, Honda is steadily building a reputation for itself as the ultimate combo for reliable, hard work off-shore. Ranging from the BF 50 up to the BF 250, serious fishermen are now choosing Honda more than ever. The fuel-efficient Hondas cut petrol costs by up to 60 percent on a day trip to the famous Bird Island area – a round trip of some 70 km – and this also offers skippers the range they require. As barge propulsion in the Royal Port Alfred Marina, the gutsy, quiet-operating Hondas keep boat owners and Marina residents alike, in harmony with each other.

Honda BF50 - reliable, powerful, fuel efficient

5. What do Customers say about the Honda Marine outboards, is there a lot of product loyalty?
The Honda Marine outboards have achieved a great amount of product loyalty; as there has never been a customer who was dissatisfied with the product. We are fortunate in having been able to rectify any glitches, usually associated with rigging of components outside the Honda brand, easily and quickly in our well-equipped technical centre.

6. Have you been able to establish key partnerships in your local area (eg. Local community involvements/ Angling Clubs/ NSRI/ other…)

Honda Marine Port Alfred has a close relationship with their local NSRI station

Honda Marine Port Alfred has been able to establish key partnerships in the local and surrounding area. We have gained the trust of the local NSRI, the local Ndlambe Municipality, the police force, and other, smaller local marine businesses which rely largely on Honda Marine Port Alfred for all of their parts and accessories supplies. The new NSRI craft, ‘Lotto Challenger’ is our best source of in-your-face advertising as its big BF 225 motors are smooth and powerful and, thus, this modern craft is the pride and joy of Port Alfred’s boating community. We also have an on-going programme of providing a boat for cleaning up any pollution on the Kowie River.

Kowie River Clean-up from Honda Marine Port Alfred

7. How do you foresee the future for your Honda Marine business?
With boating, we predict the tendency will develop more and more toward providing exemplary, one-stop services to boating customers, as we do. Being right on the waterfront, our doors are open seven days a week, supplying anything from bait for fishing, the latest wakeboarding and ski-ing equipment, fuel, technical services and new and used boat sales. Boating has become difficult and expensive enough due to legislation, that it should be our duty to at least provide some relief, in the form of convenience, to our boating enthusiasts.

CONTACT DETAILS – Honda Marine Port Alfred
E-Mail: hondamarinepa@telkomsa.net
Tel.: 046 624 1189