There's a year-round boat show in Oconto, Wisconsin, where the full Cruisers Yachts and Rampage Yachts lines are on permanent display. Opened in the autumn of 2010, the new showroom is a part of the KCS factory, which is also available for guided customer tours. (KCS is the parent company of both boat builders.) Over the past few months, the showroom has seen a steady stream of boat buyers, accompanied by their Cruisers or Rampage dealers. Most visitors spend all day carefully examining the boats on their short list as well as visiting the factory to see, in detail, how the boats are built. Buyers of either of the two brands can also fly with their dealers to the showroom to select fabrics, woods, granite, other materials and equipment for their new boats before building starts.
KCS International, the owner of Cruisers Yachts and Rampage Yachts, has opened a new 15,000-sq. ft. showroom displaying all of the models of these two boat lines.
During the last few years Cruisers Yachts and Rampage have quietly moved upward in the U.S. and world-wide in the perception of the yachting community. Both brands are now solidly in the top echelon of their respective market niches. Owned by KCS International in Oconto, Wisconsin, these brands have become market leaders, in both perceived and actual quality, if not sales numbers as well. By focusing strictly on boats 30' and larger, Cruisers Yachts has left behind the sportboat mentality that burdens many builders of a broad range of boats.Yacht Quality
Cruisers Yachts' yacht-quality approach to big-boat building has also rubbed off on Rampage, which now has probably the best fit-and-finish of any brand in the express fishboat niche. In fact, that evolution has been so successful in Rampage that many people are buying these boats strictly for cruising. Many boaters, it turns out, would prefer owning a boat with the rugged traditional looks of an American fishing boat, rather than a Euro-styled express cruiser. No matter which way you feel about this esthetic, KCS International has a boat for you.
Typically when people enter a dealership these days, most have already developed their "short list." They come to the dealer to get specifics about the boats and to work out details of pricing. Cruisers Yachts has found that the level of knowledge consumers have these days is far higher than in the past and serious buyers now want to spend time on the boat without hordes of kids and a gaggle of gawkers barging through a boat as they do at boat shows.
But few dealers have the space or resources to carry the full line of either company's boats: Cruisers Yachts produces 11 models from 30 to 56 feet. Rampage builds six models of express and convertible. The new factory showroom is the answer, one we think will soon catch on in the industry. It puts all the models in front of the buyer, who can compare them on a point-by-point basis and make his buying decision standing on the exact yacht he wants.
“KCS International has been working to find ways to extend resources we have on-hand at our headquarters in Oconto to our dealer networks,” said Russ Davis, director of marketing. “The showroom does just that, offering dealers the opportunity to bring current owners and potential customers to see new models and personalize the experience of purchasing a new yacht."
The red balloon "A" marks Oconto, Wisconsin, on Green Bay, just a short plane ride from Chicago.
For serious customers, a Cruisers dealer will reserve an afternoon on any model in the Oconto showroom, and book plane tickets there for both himself and the client and spouse. In this way the customers can get VIP treatment from beginning to end, seeing everything they want to see, getting all questions answered (by a factory engineer if necessary), finding out all of the details about options and special equipment so that no detail is overlooked and there are no surprises. All of this, including a one-on-one factory tour, can be done in a day.The Options Selection Process
Customers who have already ordered a Cruisers Yacht or a Rampage Yacht also come to the Oconto showroom with their dealer. At the showroom, the buyers can spend time selecting fabrics, granite colors, flooring, galley equipment, and even sconces for the boat. More and more these days, people spending the kind of money it takes to buy a fine yacht want it done specifically to their taste.
This is not a new, or unproven, idea: For decades Hatteras Yachts has invited buyers to their showroom in New Bern, N.C., to sit down and view all of the options available in materials, patterns, colors and textures. Indeed, every buyer of a large custom motoryacht always consults in detail with a designer or interior decorator to specify precisely what goes into a new yacht. Now, Cruisers Yachts and Rampage Yachts buyers can do the same thing.
And the consultation covers not only styling and interior decor – buyers can also go through the factory to learn all the construction and engineering details: Where all of the through hulls are placed, for example, and how the engine bed is installed. The personalized tour includes a step-by-step explanation of how the boat is built. There is nothing quite so comforting as knowing exactly how one's boat is put together.Making the Appointment
“Because of the emotional and financial commitment involved with the purchase of a yacht, we want to ensure confidence in every sale. The showroom solidifies the importance of the personal connection Cruisers Yachts and Rampage Yachts has with its customers,” said Davis.