Boys toys for a wide mar­ket

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Rear View -

RIVIERA, an Aus­tralian- owned lux­ury boat com­pany, is leav­ing many im­ported brands in its wake with its suc­cess­ful com­bi­na­tion of qual­ity prod­uct, friendly ser­vice and has­sle- free main­te­nance at the top- end of the mar­ket.

Ac­cord­ing to Stephen Milne, brand and com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager for Riviera, cus­tomers of their pres­tige Fly­bridge, Sport Yachts, Sport Cruis­ers and Off­shore Ex­press boats come from all ar­eas of in­dus­try.

There are se­nior cor­po­rates but it seems a high per­cent­age of our clients are peo­ple who own their own small to medium busi­nesses,’’ he says. Al­though the boats are of­ten seen as boys toys’’, Mr Milne is adamant that women have a big say when their part­ner, hus­band or friend makes a pur­chase.

Our mar­ket is very much fam­i­lies, as well as hus­band and wives, and the women def­i­nitely have a say in the de­ci­sion,’’ he says.

They range from work­ing cou­ples to fam­i­lies with young kids to re­tired cou­ples who are new to boat­ing and want the ad­ven­ture of charg­ing up and down the coast.’’

Mr Milne ex­plains that, be­cause their clients are of­ten busy peo­ple, the pur­chase al­lows them an op­por­tu­nity to get to­gether on their own with friends or fam­i­lies.

Riviera of­fers a turn- key ser­vice which al­lows their cus­tomers to have their boats ser­viced and main­tained, so all the client has to do is turn up and en­joy the ride.

Queens­land rep­re­sents about 33- 35 per cent a year of our mar­ket,’’ he says.

More­over, we get a lot of south­ern clients from Vic­to­ria who buy a boat and have it berthed per­ma­nently in Queens­land.’’

How­ever, this mar­ket is way be­yond the av­er­age tinny or speed­boat ex­pe­ri­ence.

Our cheap­est boat is $ 350,000 and you can buy a house in Queens­land for less,’’ says Mr Milne, who adds that you can spend up to $ 4.7 mil­li­ion for the topof- the- range mod­els.

It’s a sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment,’’ adds Mr Milne, who points out that the typ­i­cal cus­tomers spends around $ 1.3 mil­lion for a 47ft long craft.

Our boats are made from stain­less steel, fiber­glass and glass so are low main­te­nance,’’ he adds.

Mr Milne has worked with Riviera since the com­pany’s be­gin­ning some 28 years ago: We are an iconic brand in this coun­try, have built over 4000 boats and sell them all over the world.’’

Mr Milne says that Riviera has grown from a small fac­tory in north­ern Syd­ney in 1980 to op­er­at­ing from the largest lux­ury boat build­ing fa­cil­ity in the South­ern Hemi­sphere, a 14- hectare state- of- the- art wa­ter­front site at Coomera on Queens­land’s Gold Coast.

The com­pany now em­ploys more than 1200 crafts­peo­ple and we ex­port about 50 per cent of our an­nual pro­duc­tion to a Dealer Net­work that spans more than 30 coun­tries on ev­ery con­ti­nent around the world,’’ he says.

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