September 1, 2023

The French Experiment

Beneteau Group has really grabbed its Prestige motor yacht brand, turned it upside down and starting experimenting with it in the last three to four years.  It all started with the X wide body range presented in 2020, and continued with the M for multi-hull introduced in 2022 with the M48 model.  

The Prestige brand has been the most consistent and successful of the giant French Group motor boat portfolio. For example the Prestige 550 introduced in 2013 sold over 150 units in its first three year production run, with other previous smaller models as the 46 Fly and 34S from the noughties selling two hundred and five hundred plus respectively.  The other Prestige models in its traditional Flybridge and Sport lines have also been successful, a well deserved success to be fair, as I think Garroni has done an impressive job on the design of these, mixing modern lines, latest amenities with conservative looks and the competitive good quality-price point the French Group is known for.  

It would be interesting to know what made Prestige do this hard-turn in its strategy.  May be its previous innovative and nice Prestige 750 flagship launched in 2013 never sold as expected, but then in that fifteen to 25 meters, is not an easy size to enter and compete against long standing Italian and English names.  Reality is when you compete in that higher quality market it is difficult to enter, even if you offer a product with the same quality, and probably Beneteau Group knows this the most as it seems to be giving up on its Monte Carlo Yachts brand, which it debuted in 2010 with MCY76, and has seen no new models in over two years.  

The Beneteau Group has strong sales in 2023, an increase of a whooping 43% and today its motor boating lines leads at 57% its sailing yacht division, so on numbers alone they are right on what they are doing.  But the Prestige motor boat brand which was started in 2001 as part of a Jeanneau model line, and became an independent brand in 2009, changes in direction seem odd as an outsider, considering the legacy and sales Prestige generated in the last twenty years.

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