Cannes 2022: Groupe Beneteau shifts focus to ‘value over volume’

The evening before the 44th Cannes Yachting Festival kicked off (5 September), Groupe Beneteau hosted over 200 guests on the Croisette in Cannes, to announce its corporate vision, new ambitions and projects and the latest product innovations across its brands at the festival’s first press conference.

Boat Division CEO, Gianguido Girotti, laid out the group’s roadmap for development, which follows four main pillars under the marketing tagline ‘Bringing dreams to water’.

Girotti revealed that the strategy will see all brands adjust their branding, shifting from a ‘volume driven’ to a ‘value-driven’ strategy.

The group laid out its plans for a digitisation shift. “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,” says Clement Douet, vice-president for digital business.

Last year Groupe Beneteau presented the Seanapps app, which is connected to a boat in real-time to provide data. Today, 2,000 boats are equipped and sailing around the world, and by September 2023, every single boat leaving the group’s plants worldwide will be also equipped with the app. Moreover, it will be available also to every existing boat maintained in the Group’s dealers’ network.

Douet says that Groupe Beneteau’s digitalisation process will continue enhancing the ability to deliver faster and more precisely new services. “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.”

As a multi-specialist group that produces both power and sailing boats, from 5.5m up to 24m, Groupe Beneteau continues to focus on four areas: dayboating, real estate on the water, monohull and multihull.

Each of them has a specific objective, which is part of the strategic plan that involves aligning the branding exercise, the international industrial footprint and the development of each model.

Gianguido Girotti
Gianguido Girotti at the press conference

On the Groupe Beneteau powerboat offer, Erik Stromberg, vice-president of power & motor yacht development, stated: “We have launched 15 new models in the dayboating segment across four brands.”

He highlights the new Jeanneau Cap Camarat 10.5 CC and the extension of the Merry Fisher range with the Jeanneau Merry Fisher 1295 and the Jeanneau DB/43.

”It represents a bold launch, not only of a luxury dayboat, but a brand-new range and a clear departure into a new market segment,” he told the audience. He also drew attention to two launches from the group’s American brands: the Four Winns TH36 and the Wellcraft 355.

Another significant launch is the X60, launched to complement the X70. Stromberg also spotlighted the brand’s shift into the multihull segment with the new M48. 

Then, Damien Jacob, vice-president of sailboat development, presented the Excess 14, which he says aims to offer the excitement of sailing a monohull onboard a multihull, and the Lagoon 51, which is bringing more sustainable materials onboard such as natural fibers in the composite.

Networking after the press conference

“The multihull segment is very dynamic, and the recent worldwide crisis pushed even more people in that direction. Multihulls embodies 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,” explains Jacob.

Regarding monohulls, Groupe Beneteau presented the new Jeanneau Yachts 55 and the Beneteau Oceanis Yacht 60. Jacob also reminded the audience that Beneteau’s First is celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, marked with the launch of the new Beneteau First 44.

When it comes to sustainable boating, Groupe Beneteau says it is addressing this ‘key challenge’ by looking at the product development and manufacturing processes.

“On the product development side, we are currently focused on reducing the environmental impact in two key areas: composite materials and propulsion systems,” says Gianguido Girotti, boat division CEO.

Groupe Beneteau has 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 group revealed a new transition towards reduced emission or emission-free propulsion systems. Groupe Beneteau will partner with: Vision Marine Technologies on the dayboating segment; Torqeedo for the Real Estate on the Water, monohull and multihull sailing segments; Volvo Penta with a hybrid engine project.

Girotti continues focusing on the manufacturing operations and processes, saying: “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. We have decided to collaborate with a local actor called Vendée Energie to install four hectares of photovoltaic shadehouse over all the parking lots at our production sites.”

Bruno Thivoyon, Groupe Beneteau CEO, concluded the press conference by coming back to the key messages and the firm’s product roadmap. He underlined how the new models will embed technological and sustainable innovations to underpin the firm’s shift to an ever more value-driven approach.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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