Bavaria bringing it all back home
German boat builder reveals plans to cut model line-up under new owners.
As it embarks on its next phase under new ownership, German boat builder Bavaria Yachts has announced it is consolidating production at its German base in Giebelstadt and cutting the number of models in its line-up.
The company went into voluntary administration earlier this year before being bought by private equity funds managed by CMP Capital Management-Partners based in Berlin.
Over the next three years, the company intends to reduce the number of models in its portfolio from the current number of 26 to around 10 to 12 models, thereby reducing complexity in the range.
“Our model range will be more attractive and at the same time of a highly reliable quality, with a portfolio of the same size,” said managing director Erik Appel, who has been COO at Bavaria Yachts since December 2017.
In a move to bring all production in-house, the R55 motor yacht, previously produced in Croatia, will be built at the company’s headquarters in Giebelstadt, Bavaria, starting in the first half of 2019. The moulds and tools are currently being transported from Croatia to be installed in Giebelstadt.
“We want our outstandingly well trained and committed employees to develop and build all our yachts primarily under own management. The workforce identifies strongly with Bavaria Yachts; it is the key feature of our company,” said Appel.
“This is why we intend to further increase our permanent staff and simultaneously reduce the proportion of temporary workers. This will help considerably to bring down production costs. To increase the efficiency of the shipyard, we will concentrate on our own engineering, i.e. the technical development of yachts, at Bavaria Yachts once again.
“Interdisciplinary teams have already been formed. We will organise the handover of newly-developed models from engineering to production better and thus reduce costs. Engineering and joinery will continue to be core in-house competences.”
Among other changes announced, the Bavaria C65, presented in 2018 but not successful, will no longer be built, the E-Line models (electric propulsion and hybrid yachts) have been discontinued, and the C50 sailing yacht has been removed from series production and reworked as a prototype. Following its successful re-engineering, the C50 will return to series production from November 2018.
The findings from the C50 development will also be incorporated in the ongoing production of the flagship C57 model and the smaller C45 model. The company said it has ensured the feasibility of producing the brand's largest sailing boat at the Giebelstadt site.
The French catamaran brand owned by Bavaria and built at Rochefort in France will keep its well-established name of Nautitech for marketing purposes.
Looking to the future, the company said “moderate” new developments are planned from 2019 onwards with two or three new product launches per year.
“Successful series production in yacht building involves a lot of handiwork, a love for detail and the will to create. That’s what Bavaria has always stood for and that’s the way it will be again in future. We can create a lot together here and we can implement new ideas quickly,” said Appel.
The company expects to make a loss this year which CMP will carry. Break-even is planned for the next full financial year (1 August 2019 to 31 July 2020) and key improvements are expected in two or three years.
“We want to regain lost trust. We intend to keep Bavaria’s promises and meet its delivery dates,” said Dr. Ralph Kudla, a partner at CMP and the new Bavaria Yachts managing director. “Quality must also improve again. And we want to involve our dealers more closely in strategy and product development.
“A dealers’ advisory board will be introduced to this end. In this way, we will hear customer feedback, pick up on it and turn it into product improvements as quickly as possible.”