Piero Napolitano has been Jeanneau commercial director for Italy since last December. He comes to the large French group after a long experience that starts from providing support services for racing boats, when he was still a university student in Naples, goes through experiences with the Casarola group and some brands of the Ferretti group to the management of Riva Cannes Boat Service, the office on the French Riviera that takes care of sales and service of Riva yachts.
He replaces Andrea Cragnotti, who was called by Jeanneau to serve as EMEA Commercial Director, leaving Napolitano with an excellent legacy with numbers all on the positive side. “In fact, it will be hard to keep up with those results,” jokes the newly appointed manager, which continues: “Again this year the sales results were higher than last year, and so we ended up with a volume of business that exceeded by 10 percent the results of 2008, the last year before the crisis that depressed the whole economy and boating in particular.”
What is changing now at Jeanneau?
“For the moment I would say nothing, in the end we are always under Andrea’s gaze, although more from above. It is too early to make strategic choices, and the results affirm that the ones made so far have been right.”
“We have seen significant growth in our market share in outboard-powered models and sailing, and we have confirmed our results with inboard models and in the Prestige range.”
Can you give us some numbers?
“In Italy, out of 205 boats sold to individuals, 130 are units with outboard engines, 55 inboard, 15 are Jeanneau sailboats and 5 are Prestige.”
Whose credit is it, other than the leadership?
“I would say it’s a contest of merits. There is certainly the work done on the boats. One of the Jeanneau and Prestige characteristics is not to cut bridges, even aesthetic ones, with the past; We improve a model, we evolve it, but we don’t revolutionize it.”
Does that pay?
“Prestige has become the first brand globally for sales of motoryachts between 40 and 60 feet and the second in the 60- to 80-foot range. I would say it pays off.”
So no news?
“They’ll be there for sure and you’ll see them soon…innovation, design and more will complement and supplement the existing ranges. This makes a Jeanneau, sail or motor, or a Prestige retain value even when used. And that gives confidence. Then we work on customer care. We are interested in consolidating before we even grab new customers. We have an inclusive approach, we like to keep the doors open and get as many people as possible into the Jeanneau world. Finally, it is thanks to the network of our 25 dealers.”
Why are they good salespeople?
“More so because they are considered competent and reliable professionals. A customer who needs to change boats told me a few weeks ago, ‘I received two quotes from two dealers with a price difference of about 5 percent. The one who sent me the higher figure is a historic Jeanneau dealer. If we split this difference equally the dealer and I will gladly pay them the extra difference because I know it is well invested in the service they will be able to offer me.’ And if a customer comes to consider the value of what they buy before the price, it means we are working in the right direction.”
How do you differentiate your products, just by size?
“Not only that, it also depends on usage. For example, a fishing enthusiast will have different needs than someone who simply ‘goes boating.’ For the former, function is key; for the latter, comfort and design matter more. To be more specific, for the latter the joystick is something that is now a must-have, because it takes away so much of his thoughts when mooring, while for the fishing enthusiast it is more important, to have the space to devote to the dio fishing activity, so he will look more at the layout than the accessories.”
What about sailing what’s new?
The Sun Odyssey we are presenting these days, the model that sits right in the middle of the range, which runs from 31 to 51 feet. Here comes the new Sun Fast 3300, for racing enthusiasts, an interesting hull for competing in both full and reduced crew, including single-handed, and created to compete in IRC regulations, for which it is optimized. For the time being, the Jeanneau Yacht range is unchanged, still four models from 51 to 64′ and including the 70th model at the upcoming Cannes show. A brand new addition will be launched on April 25 when we present the Sun Loft, Jeanneau’s ‘monocat,’ designed by Philippe Birand.”