Groupe Beneteau outlined its corporate vision in a press conference on the eve of the Cannes Yachting Festival, hosting more than 200 guests in the JW Marriott on the Croisette. The group said it would continue to focus on motor and sailing boats from 5.5-24m but “shifting from a volume-driven strategy to a value-driven strategy”.
Groupe Beneteau addresses the challenge of sustainable boating by looking at both product development and manufacturing processes.
Gianguido Girotti, CEO of Groupe Beneteau’s Boat Division, said: “On the product development side, we are currently focused on reducing the environmental impact in two key areas: composite materials and propulsion systems.”
Focusing on composite materials, Groupe Beneteau set up a special project team for the first hull of Beneteau First 44, collaborating with the French resin manufacturer Arkema to build a prototype with 100 per cent recyclable resin.
This expertise in composite materials will be used also to build two prototypes of a Mini 6.5 racing sailboat using these same materials for The Arch project. These versions of the Beneteau First 44 and the Arch Mini 6.5 will be presented to the public during the winter boat shows.
Beside composite materials, the other game-changer in product development is the transition towards reduced emission or emission-free propulsion systems, and Groupe Beneteau is cooperating with Vision Marine Technologies and Torqeedo on different models, as well as Volvo Penta on a hybrid engine project.
Girotti said: “We decided to change the way we produce our small composite parts and we introduced a new bio-sourced resin and natural fibre to replace the classic one. We also decided to look at the energy consumption at our plants.”
The company is also collaborating with Vendée Energie to install four hectares of photovoltaic ‘shadehouse’ over parking lots at production sites.
“At Groupe Beneteau, we also keep in mind that being sustainable is focus on making boating accessible. Our boats and yachts are the result of top-class industrial processes and we care about our customers as well as we care also about our earth and oceans. Sustainable boating will be more and more our key focus.”
Key Product Launches
Erik Stromberg, Vice-President of Power & Motor Yacht Development, said the company had launched 15 new models in the dayboating segment across four brands. He highlighted three new models by Jeanneau that debuted at Cannes: Cap Camarat 10.5 CC, Merry Fisher 1295 Fly and DB/43, the first in a new series.
“The DB/43 represents a bold launch, not only of a luxury dayboat but a brand-new range and a clear departure into a new market segment,” said Stromberg, whose presentation also included the Four Winns TH36 and Wellcraft 355.
In the “real estate on the water” segment, Stromberg cited the new M48 power catamaran by Prestige, the first twin-hulled model by the monohull motor yacht specialist.
“Nothing embodies real estate like a multihull and Prestige has decided to blaze a path into the world of catamarans,” Stromberg said. “It’s a natural step for a brand that has been focused on providing the best on board experience. From the luxury of space to the enhanced stability, the M48 perfectly completes the Prestige product offering. A true motor yacht, on a multihull platform.”
Prestige also added the X60, which was making its Cannes debut after a global debut in the US earlier this year.
Damien Jacob, Vice-President of Sailboat Development, highlighted the new Lagoon 51 incorporating more sustainable materials onboard such as natural fibres in the composite, while the new Excess 14 continues the brand’s aim to offer the excitement of sailing a monohull onboard a multihull with twin helm stations.
“The multihull segment is very dynamic, and the recent worldwide crisis pushed even more people in that direction,” Jacob said. “Multihulls embody the aspiration of many sailors for more freedom on the water. Lagoon and Excess aim to answer to the various uses of the multihull sailors and the two brands offer a specific boating experience.”
Meanwhile, new sailing monohulls included Beneteau’s new flagship Oceanis Yacht 60, First 44 and First 36, with the First series celebrating its 45th anniversary. Meanwhile, the Jeanneau Yachts 55 is expected to debut at Boot Dusseldorf in January 2023.
“With a wide range of product ranging from pure racer to pure cruiser, Beneteau and Jeanneau are now the world market leaders,” Jacob said. “This position has given us the opportunity to venture into new trends.”
Shift Towards Digitalisation
The third focus is a shift to increased digitalisation. Last year, Groupe Beneteau presented Seanapps and already 2,000 boats are equipped with the technology. By September 2023, every single boat leaving the plants worldwide will be also equipped with the app. Moreover, it will be available to be retrofitted to every existing boat maintained in the Group’s dealers’ network.
Clement Douet, Vice-President for Digital Business, said: “At Groupe Beneteau we strongly believe that digitalisation will help us build a special and unique bond between our boats, our clients, our dealers and our brands.
At Groupe Beneteau, digitalisation is not just a department to look good and speak to the new generation. Digitalisation transpires to every single entity to align on one goal: offer a unique 360-degree online and offline experience to every single one of our customers.”
This edited article first appeared on Yacht Style.
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