‘ONE-on-ONE’ Interview with Doug Kemsley, Dealer Principal 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
Tel.: 046 624 1189