For the eighth consecutive year J.D. Power & Associates has conducted a survey among buyers of newly registered boats over a one-year period. The awards were announced last Thursday, Feb. 12, at the Miami Boat Show. In the “Express Cruiser” category Regal won for the third consecutive year and was tied this year by Sea Ray for first place honors, both scoring 858 points on a 1,000-point scale. Only four brands were ranked -- Regal, Sea Ray, Rinker and Bayliner. J.D. Power says that for a boat builder to qualify for a ranking it must receive at least 100 filled out questionnaires, which is the reason that only four companies were ranked in the “Express Cruiser” study.
|Regal 3060 Express Cruiser||Sea Ray 310 Express Cruiser|
BoatTEST counts over 30 builders who make express
cruisers in the 24’ to 33’ size range with a galley and enclosed head that J.D.
Power surveys. Most, however, including the higher price-point brands -- such as
Formula, Doral and many others -- simply don’t make and sell in the U.S. enough
units each year in the category to elicit over 100 owner responses. Moreover, the
J.D. Power questionnaire is a daunting 8 pages long with about 58 questions. The
fact that anyone, much less over nine thousand people, takes the time to fill out
these lengthy questionnaires is amazing to us. By-and-large the four companies ranked
are the brands that simply sell the most units in the category and therefore are
able to generate over 100 responses.
This reality should not detract from the significance of the awards as it is well known in the industry that both Regal and Sea Ray work extremely hard at customer satisfaction and have for years been industry leaders in “best practices” in this crucial area.
According to the Power report, “Sea Ray performs particularly well in ride and handling while Regal performs particularly well in the cabin factor.” The actual numbers recorded out of 1,000 possible points for the four 24’ to 33’ express cruiser brands were: Regal—858, Sea Ray—858, Rinker—786, Bayliner—772.
A Word from Sea Ray…
“We are very proud of how our customers continue to regard our boats for their quality and performance,” said Rick Stone, president of Sea Ray Boats. “These results are a testament to the commitment our brand, our dealers, our craftsman and our work force, who continue to strive for outstanding customer satisfaction in a very difficult marketplace.”
President Stone credits Sea Ray’s response to previous J.D. Power and Associates findings as reasons behind the brand’s continued improving performance in the annual study. “Customer comments on the J.D. Power study offer us insights into what resonates with boaters as well as further opportunities to improve our products,” Stone said. “And, it is not always something seemingly large or dramatic that can make a difference. It can be anything from adding an inch more of foam on our cockpit chair cushions to improve comfort and visibility to making wood flooring standard in all cabins of our express cruisers.”
Sea Ray received this same award in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006.
Video interview with Regal Pres. Duane Kuck about customer satisfaction..