‘ONE-on-ONE’ Interview with Dave Hoets, Dealer Principal at Honda Marine Knysna
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What’s most important is that each and every day we strive to offer all our customers a happy boating experience.
Honda Marine Knysna
Tel.: 044 382 4090