Originally Posted by willk
No, that doesn't make sense. Less competition/choice causes prices to rise, not fall. If you follow your theory to it's logical conclusion, we'd all be driving an overpriced Zodiac
I said fewer, not one. There'll always be room for a number of specialist manufacturers, as there is in the automotive industry (Ferrari, Lotus, etc) but you only have to look at what happened in that industry over the last 40 years or so to see what I mean. The flood of cheap, mass-produced Japanese cars brought much of the industry to its knees in the 70's, and resulted in names like Triumph, Austin/Morris (later British Leyland), and a host of others going to the wall. Those that survived (and most of them have had their ups and downs too) only did so by moving with the time, automating processes and standardising practices.
The early Japanese imports (and the initial offerings from Korea and the like), were of inferior quality, but look at them now, and it won't be long before even the Japanese are threatened by production from mainland China and India.
Similarly, people knock the Chinese manufactured RIBs at present, but once they get a foothold in world markets they'll up their game, and many of the current European manufacturers will find it impossible to compete. The marine industry needs, in my opinion, to wake up and smell the coffee - before it is too late!
They'd do well to look at the likes of VAG Group, where a 'family' of brands aimed at different aspirational markets and different price points share not just technology/development costs but use 80% or more of the same parts. The Audi A1/VW Polo/SEAT Ibiza/Skoda Fabia are virtually the same cars under the skin, and other manufacturers share, for example, engines.
Without such collaborations, and the economics of scale that they bring, the price of your Ford Fiesta's and Vauxhall Astra's would be double what they are now. If the marine industry were to do likewise, and build more 'Ford Focus' rather than everyone wanting to be a Landrover or Ferrari equivalent, then boating would be more accessible and we wouldn't have to pay more for a basic 5m RIB with engine than you'd pay for the BMW 3-series.
That, or we wait until the Chinese wipe the floor of course.