‘ONE-on-ONE’ Interview with Jeremy Barnes, Dealer Principal at Honda Marine Somerset West
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CONTACT DETAILS – Honda Marine Somerset West
Tel.: 021 851 7710