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Old 21 November 2015, 17:58   #1
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Zodiac Takes Over and Avon Comes Back

Press Release info: Zodiac Takes Over and Avon Comes Back | Inflatable Boat Center

"Expect great things from Zodiac, Avon and Bombard"

"Zodiac’s new leadership is poised like a panther to take on it’s myriad competitors in the Asian manufacturing sector. Offering new life, new products and genuine Zodiac materials and builds at similar pricing structures to the cheap knock offs flooding the market today means Zodiac is future minded."

"Heber-Suffrin promised new-boat introductions at the Miami International Boat Show in February"

I wonder if this means they will change/improve the design for the Futura series?

I want to pull the trigger on a 2015 Futura MK3 FR, but maybe I'll wait until more info is released in February.

Cheers!!
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Old 23 November 2015, 05:40   #2
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>>>poised like a panther to take on it’s myriad competitors in the Asian manufacturing sector. Offering new life, new products and genuine Zodiac materials and builds at similar pricing structures to the cheap knock offs flooding the market today...

If that was the statement they released then they underestimate the strength of the "knock off" competition.

This summer I posted in a couple of threads wondering about the future of Zodiac just before the new owner was announced... particularly with regard as to how they would compete with Chinese made inflatables like the Honwaves.

The stark truth (certainly for UK climate & leisure use) is that most Honwave inflatables are as good as the Zodiac leisure range (even better in some areas) at prices varying from 40% to 70% of a similar Zodiac.

If Zodiac haven't been making money at the existing prices I have no idea how they will compete.
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Old 23 November 2015, 08:36   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenlander View Post
The stark truth (certainly for UK climate & leisure use) is that most Honwave inflatables are as good as the Zodiac leisure range (even better in some areas) at prices varying from 40% to 70% of a similar Zodiac.

If Zodiac haven't been making money at the existing prices I have no idea how they will compete.
Glued Chinese off-brand PVC fabric with off-brand glue

vs

Welded French/German origin Fabric utilizing custom-engineered Bostik S.A. adhesives on the few tiny areas where there is glue

The two products are not alike in any way.

Stateside, most of the off-brand hand-glued Chinese boats only last 2-4 years before suffering catastrophic failures with either a seam completely ungluing, or the transom falling off.
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Old 23 November 2015, 10:10   #4
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I'm only referring to the UK inflatable market where Honwave Chinese built boats (and others like Excel) are reaching a decent age and we're nor seeing large scale failure so those inflatables are real competition for Zodiac... far from second rate.
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Old 23 November 2015, 10:24   #5
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I'm only referring to the UK inflatable market where Honwave Chinese built boats (and others like Excel) are reaching a decent age and we're nor seeing large scale failure so those inflatables are real competition for Zodiac... far from second rate.
How long has Honwave been "making" boats?

They'll start falling apart like Brigs do eventually, then Honda will re-brand just like Mercury did with their junky Quicksilver inflatables. Preetttty common tactic in the inflatables industry.

It drives me nuts. I hate having to fix boats that fall apart what I consider to be "prematurely".
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Old 23 November 2015, 10:53   #6
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Understand... not trying to be argumentative... just telling how it is in the UK and the real competition Zodiac have to overcome...

Honwaves been going 10+yrs in the UK and I've not really heard of failures being an issue with early ones.

A valid comparison is the Zodiac Classic solid floor 3.5m selling around 2400 in the UK. The 3.5m solid floor Honwave sells around 860. They will give a near identical on the water experience and if the Honwave is lasting to 10yrs min then compared to the Zodiac outlay you could scrap the Honwave after 10yrs and buy a new one and it would still make financial sense.

I'm not anti Zodiac just realistic about the fact they somehow need to re-position in the market to make money from the UK.
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Old 23 November 2015, 11:45   #7
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Understand... not trying to be argumentative... just telling how it is in the UK and the real competition Zodiac have to overcome...

Honwaves been going 10+yrs in the UK and I've not really heard of failures being an issue with early ones.

A valid comparison is the Zodiac Classic solid floor 3.5m selling around 2400 in the UK. The 3.5m solid floor Honwave sells around 860. They will give a near identical on the water experience and if the Honwave is lasting to 10yrs min then compared to the Zodiac outlay you could scrap the Honwave after 10yrs and buy a new one and it would still make financial sense.

I'm not anti Zodiac just realistic about the fact they somehow need to re-position in the market to make money from the UK.
I would compare the 3.5m Honwave to the 3.5m Zoom by Zodiac...they are almost identical in the engineering and build, since they are both 100% glued.

Zodiac has a new lineup which you guys just got in the UK, and it is priced much more aggressively. It is a hybrid of gluing and welding, so it is still a better buy than the Honwave, but the price is much more in line : Ron Hale Marine Ltd - Zodiac Cadet 350 Alu

Comparing the Zodiac Classic to the Honwave 3.5 is like comparing a Land Rover Discovery to a Hyundai Santa Fe because they're both SUVs... two completely different build qualities, ride qualities, and longevity.

I completely understand what you're getting at that though. Most consumers see it your way, they don't recognize the build quality of the two products like they do with automobiles. For some reason, customers think "oh, all inflatable boats are the same".
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Old 23 November 2015, 12:16   #8
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>>> Most consumers see it your way, they don't recognize the build quality of the two products

You underestimate the depth of my thinking here. A 3.5m Classic vs a 3.5m Honwave will be a very similar on the water experience both with hard floors and sausage keels. You may say the Zodiac is "better quality" but a potential buyer really thinking this through will want to understand just what that means. If that perceived quality is costing an extra 1500+ it needs to count in areas that matter. If the Honwave will last without issues for 10ys plus at the low price it may meet the needs of the more discerning and financially aware buyer.

Your link to the Ron Hale site and the new model budget Zodiac 3.5 Alu is further confirmation of the problem... it's 50% more than the Honwave despite being a closely comparable SIB and regarded as a budget model... in fact I'd take the Honwave even if the prices were more similar due to the all round grab rope and six extra carry/grab handles in useful places.
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Old 23 November 2015, 14:08   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by office888 View Post
Comparing the Zodiac Classic to the Honwave 3.5 is like comparing a Land Rover Discovery to a Hyundai Santa Fe because they're both SUVs... two completely different build qualities, ride qualities, and longevity.

I completely understand what you're getting at that though. Most consumers see it your way, they don't recognize the build quality of the two products like they do with automobiles. For some reason, customers think "oh, all inflatable boats are the same".
Some people buy Santa Fe, some Discovery.
These who buy Discovery believe that it is better or it has more prestige

The same for boats I suppose. And there are many boaters use boats less than 50-100 hr per season so maybe for such purpose Zodiac and some cheaper brand will work the same.

I have been using HONDA ODYSSEY car since few years and confess to "my mechanic" that maybe I will buy SsangYoung (this one for 7 persons).
He explain me that owner of "not problematic car" thinks that the same be for any other - and such people are wrong ... (these were not mine words).

Am I wrong that in UK Zodiac has a lot of local competitors like RIBCRAFT, RIBEYE, ...

Not idea about UK nowadays (last time I was 10 y ago) but in Poland, Greece, Croatia people have less money for such hobby like boating so a lot of them is looking for cheaper alternatives even if it is for while (until crisis ends).

I'm talking about "middle class".
I'm not a specialist but a little better quality (than competitors) for a little better price will be great (about Zodiac)

I do have also inflatable kayak for 3 persons made in Czech Republic: GUMOTEX SOLAR. Friend of mine convince me to buy it over similar size kayak in supermarket located between butter and bred. But I made final decision when saw good opportunity and price 50% more over popular China brand not 100% like I saw earlier.
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Old 23 November 2015, 16:48   #10
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Zodiac is a huge business with interests in aerospace engineering (aeroplane seats, emergency chutes, cabins, etc), automotive (airbags, etc), leisure (pools and filtration), and of course the military/professional marine side (Solas life rafts, assault and rescue craft, etc).

The leisure marine side has been losing money for years. Anyone who's owned a Zodiac can confirm their boats are expensive, and their accessory prices are legendary. In their defence the quality and durability is excellent.

Zodiac have already shut some of their French production to cut costs and moved operations to Tunisia. More details here: Zodiac Future

They say it themselves, the US leisure boat market accounts for 40% of sales, and that's where their focus will be. if Zodiac is to have a resurgence in the UK, then they need to look at prices and dealer network.
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