Four Winns, Glastron, Wellcraft, and Scarab are all familiar names to boaters, but these brands have been through a tumultuous series of changes over the past few years. The Genmar bankruptcy a few years back put them on the block, until Platinum bought them and put the boats back into production. And now Beneteau has purchased these four iconic brands.
Here’s the news blurb put out by the Beneteau Group, which all of the industry publications are regurgitating: “This acquisition is in line with the Group’s development strategy for the North American motorboat market. After launching sales of motorboats over 12 meters in 2010, the Group is embarking on the second phase of its project, with motorboats under 12 meters, which requires an industrial investment in America.”
For those of you who think better in feet and inches, boats “under 12 meters” are those under 39 feet, four and 7/16th inches, according to Google Translate.
Now, here’s the part you care about: the Beneteau group is one of the world’s largest boatbuilders with over 100 different models, from sailboats to runabouts to yachts to the fishing-friendly Barracuda 9—and even express cruisers and bikes. They are a heavy-hitter in the boatbuilding world, and they’re here to stay—which is likely good news for Four Winns, Glastron, Wellcraft, and Scarab. A boat manufacturer (or any manufacturer, for that matter), always has to wonder what’s going to happen next when they’re owned by a private equity group, and although Platinum did an excellent job of reviving these brands, it should be a relief to come under the umbrella of a boating-dedicated company like the Beneteau Group.
Get over the fact that this is a French company, people. The Belgians already have all of our beer, the Chinese own half of Manhattan (but ramen is very, very cheap), and a German company owns T-Mobile (they can have it). Besides, Beneteau already builds a number of boat brands that most of us don’t think of as French—like Monte Carlo, CNB, and Jeanneau.
What, exactly, will Beneteau do with these four iconic brands? Mum’s the word, for now. Our queries to Beneteau went unanswered, and they haven’t spilled the beans to anyone else as of yet. One thing is for sure: come hell or high water, Beneteau will continue building boats. And with a little luck, that will be a good thing for Four Winns, Glastron, Wellcraft, and Scarab.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going out on my boat to enjoy a dinner of fresh ramen, washed down with a cold Budweiser—a company originally started by a German immigrant.
For more information, visit Beneteau.