Westport Yachts – Success in the Recession

By B. Roberts

During the economic downturn many industries faced adversity and even collapse, with few new orders, the superyacht industry was facing the same struggle. We asked VP of Sales, Phil Purcell, how US shipyard Westport Yachts have been weathering the storm.

To gain a professional opinion on surviving the recent industry downturn, we spoke to a leading representative of one of the most renowned and respected shipyards and brokerage firms in the US, Westport Yachts.

Vice President of Sales, Phil Purcell, noted that they have endured the crisis by him and his team ensuring they stay on top form and continue to deliver premium quality superyachts on time and on budget ever since they were founded in 1964.

Westport Yachts state that their “philosophy as a yacht builder is comparable to that of the aviation industry, a sector where quality is absolutely essential.”

Mr. Purcell said that “Were all affected by the reality of it, but we’re doing well, we’re continuing to sell and grow”

After the major slump in new orders last year Westport Yachts have confidently said that sales grew through the recession with the industry now clearly picking up momentum once again.

The struggle felt all over the world generated a lack of demand and made people generally cautious about the financial climate, affecting the sale and delivery of superyachts.

When asked how they worked in the tight economic environment Mr. Purcell noted that “We’re always building, not waiting for cheques. The Importance is in knowing when to pull back on stock or building rate”. Westport Yachts have an established and proven construction format alongside successful techniques to further their name.

Mr. Purcell commented that success is “as simple as confidence” noting that through visiting events such as the Abu Dhabi and Antibes Yacht Show organisations can further their industry presence and build solid business relationships.

Mr. Purcell mentioned that if a company was to stop attending shows, putting their foot on the breaks and slowing the rate of which they do business the affects would be very negative “Without attending these yacht shows the results would be much easier to track”, Yacht shows may not be immediately fruitful but help generate confidence in the market.

After speaking to numerous representatives and key players at the Abu Dhabi Yacht Show in February the consensus was that the industry was slowly returning to life. For organisations who exhibited at shows and worked through the economy are now seeing the reward as the rate of sales greatly increased through March.

Westport Yachts, like many others now, realised the potential of the UAE market as it is proving to be an untapped area with an increasing demand “Westport Yachts have been welcomed in the area and were honouring the UAE by trying to get everyone involved”

It is now becoming a promising era for the global superyacht industry with new markets opening in the Middle East, Brazil, China and Latin America with Westport Yachts, like many others, now working to access these areas through shows such as the ADYS.

Westport Yachts are currently branching out to build off the shelf yachts specially built to aid the military in construction time and the ability to respond to natural disasters such as Haiti quickly and effectively.

Westport Yachts have weathered the economic storm through maintaining their high quality standards and working straight through the crisis.

Mr. Purcell is openly confident about the growth of Westport Yachts alongside a rising industry, expanding into new and exciting regions with other representatives sharing the same enthusiasm and hard work to embrace the next few years.

By B. Roberts