Something that commonly comes up in the marine diesel engine world is engine pricing. Manufacturers and distributors seem to hold their pricing spreadsheets as close as the Colonel holds his chicken recipe. This day and age consumers are much more price concise. They shop, they hunt, they google, they look for the best deal and take that price to someone else to see if they will match it. I believe the person buying a marine diesel engine is no different. I am not sure if the manufactures are thinking that the boat owner is so brand loyal that they wouldn’t shop elsewhere. If that is the case, they couldn’t be more wrong. I have seen guys that bled Cat yellow put a Scania in. Owners that preached one brand repower with another. I have changed my loyalties over the years. Whatever the case maybe I think it has come time for marine diesel engine pricing to evolve.
When we start thinking about buying a new vehicle what is the first thing we do? That is right, the ole build and price tool. You can completely build your new ride and pick different options, colors, trim levels, everything. Emagine you are looking for a new engine for your boat or a customer's boat. You go right to the manufacture's website and pick the model engine that applies. Your boat has a water heater, a 12- and 24-volt system and you 2 operating stations. The manufacturer offers options to cover your needs, so you pick what you need and watch your price change accordingly. Maybe it would be better to do this at the distributor level because they are the ones that really “outfit” the engine before shipping to dealer.
In my opinion this would work best if the online “build and price tool” was on the high side. Maybe like 5% of what the dealer will sell it for. That way you can weed out those that are interested in buying and the daydreamers. At the same time this helps your dealers because they are not answering the phone entertaining tire kickers. It really is a win, win, win situation. Your potential customer is happy because he can get pricing info without calling around, your dealer is happy because they are spending less time on the phone and more time marketing the product, the manufacturers are happy because now they have yet another tool to see what engines are more popular and their dealers and distributors have more time to market and sell the product.
I would love to hear the inputs from prospective buyers, dealers, distributors and the manufacturers so please comment, email, call or carrier pigeon me.