Glastron shows its new face in Cadillac, Michigan this weekAugust 20 2010 at 12:42 PM
|Dave Mehl (no login)|
Well here's some good news coming out of Michigan, thought readers here would find this of interest even though it has nothing to do with Chris Craft or Commanders.
Glastron unveiled its line of retooled boats and revamped manufacturing facility to dealers in Cadillac, Michigan this week. The company said that about half of the dealer base, representing 80 dealerships, toured the plant in groups. The final group of dealers will visit the facility on Friday.
"Everyone is on a high this week," Roch Lambert, president of Rec Boat Holdings, told IBI. "We're shaping the future of Glastron right now."
Just eight months ago, Glastron's future was very much in doubt. The former Genmar brand had suspended production since the parent company had gone into bankruptcy protection in June 2009, and dealers were wondering if it would ever emerge. After Project Boat Holdings and its parent Platinum Equity acquired Glastron and five other Genmar brands, the new company resumed production in the facility in Little Falls, Minnesota.
But over the last four months, the team at Project Boat Holdings had to not only move production from Little Falls to Cadillac, but also change the way the boats were built, from the proprietary VEC process to more traditional open-mould techniques.
"We transferred a little more than 100 truckloads of molds and materials," says Lambert. "In all, we moved production of 22 models from Little Falls to here. That meant building 50 new moulds and re-engineering 14 new boats."
The company also decided to consolidate its manufacturing base from two facilities into one. It builds the Four Winns and Wellcraft brands, and added another line for Glastron. Lambert expects Glastron to have a higher volume than the other two brands.
Lambert said production of the first Glastron built in Cadillac happened three weeks ago. The company is up to 35 to 40 boats per week. "The transition is complete," he said. "We are now focused on building boats in Cadillac."
Four Winns will be holding regional dealer meetings in the autumn, but Lambert said it was important to show dealers the new Glastron line. "We wanted them to see the new product development area and our expanded production capacities," he said. "We also wanted them to have direct input as we re-steer the brand. I am pleasantly surprised. Glastron orders are coming in at a significantly better pace than I expected."
Glastron launched a new 18ft bowrider, the MX 180 BR, this week. Lambert said that designers are already working on the 2012 models. "You're going to start seeing significant changes for 2012," he added.