KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - February 12, 2009 - Sea Ray Boats announced today that it is the recipient of the prestigious J.D. Power and Associates award in two categories as measured by the 2009 Boat Competitive Information StudySM released today at the Miami International Boat Show. Sea Ray was recognized for "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Express Cruisers in a Tie." Sea Ray received this same award in 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006. This year, Sea Ray also achieved the "Highest in Customer Satisfaction Award with Small Runabouts" for the first time after several years of finishing near the top in that highly competitive segment.
"We are very proud of how our customers continue to regard our boats for their quality and performance," said Richard C. Stone, president of Sea Ray Boats. "We are particularly pleased to be the recipient of the top award in these two categories in which Sea Ray competes. J.D. Power and Associates conducts its study across seven categories of pleasure boats, and asks boat owners to rate their experiences. These results are a testament to the commitment our brand, our dealers, our craftsman and our work force, who continue to strive for outstanding customer satisfaction in a very difficult marketplace. To receive such a credible and prestigious acknowledgement of our customer satisfaction is most gratifying. It shows that we continue to provide our customers with boats that fit their needs and reinforce our brand promise: to be the best."
Now in its eighth year, the J.D. Power and Associates study examines the sales, service and product experience of new-boat owners. Owner satisfaction with new boats is measured in seven segments: ski/wakeboard; fiberglass bass boats; small runabouts (16 to 19 feet); large runabouts (20 to 29 feet); coastal fishing (17 to 30 feet); pontoons; and express cruisers (24 to 33 feet). Overall customer satisfaction index scores are based on performance in eight factors: cabin; engine; ride and handling; helm and instrument panel; design and styling; sound system; water sports; and fishing. Its boat competitive information study measures the on-the-water experiences that owners have with their new boats. Survey respondents measured boats that were produced for the 2007 and 2008 model years.
"As everyone knows, the J.D. Power and Associates study is extremely detailed and rigorous as the firm is well known and well regarded for the thoroughness and soundness of it studies, measuring the reaction of literally millions of consumers each year to a host of products," explained Rob Noyes, Sea Ray's vice president of marketing. "Each year, the study findings, along with our own extensive ongoing customer research and dialogue with owners, help us to continually design and make boats that not only meet or exceed our customers' expectations for satisfaction, but incorporate the features and capabilities that excite them and inspire them to get out on the water. The J.D. Power and Associates survey is more than recognition for our hard work, it is a useful tool to help us stay close to our customers and validates our own extensive research."
Stone credits Sea Ray's response to previous J.D. Power and Associates findings as reasons behind the brand's continued improving performance in the annual study. "Customer comments on the J.D. Power and Associates study offer us insights into what resonates with boaters as well as further opportunities to improve our products," Stone explained. "And, it is not always something seemingly large or dramatic that can make a difference. It can be anything from adding an inch more of foam on our cockpit chair cushions to improve comfort and visibility to making wood flooring standard in all cabins of our express cruisers."
For the purpose of this study, Express Cruisers were defined as cruising-style boats 24 to 33 feet with a galley and an enclosed head. The Small Runabout category included boats from 16 to 19 feet. J.D. Power and Associates received feedback from thousands of new boat owners, allowing the study to provide detailed evaluations of customer satisfaction with the vessel's interior and exterior, features and controls, ride and handling, comfort, convenience, and engine performance and maintenance.
"But beyond our boats themselves, we are fully aware of the critical roles our dealers play in ensuring customer satisfaction," Stone added. "Our dealer network sets and shapes customers' expectations and perceptions of both product quality and service. It is our dealers' commitment and passion to making the boating experience pleasurable and memorable that plays a critical role in making sure our owners get the first-class product and first-class treatment that we demand as a company. This recognition is as much theirs as it is Sea Ray's, and we thank them for it."
ABOUT SEA RAY
Founded in 1959, Sea Ray is the world's largest manufacturer of superior quality pleasure boats. Sea Ray is headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., and operates as part of the Boat Group division of Brunswick Corporation. With more than 40 models ranging from 17 to 60 feet, Sea Ray makes a boat for every lifestyle - each built with a unique commitment to quality, craftsmanship, and excellence throughout. Additional information about Sea Ray is available at www.searay.com.
Headquartered in Lake Forest, Ill., Brunswick Corporation endeavors to instill "Genuine Ingenuity"(TM) in all its leading consumer brands, including Mercury and Mariner outboard engines; Mercury MerCruiser sterndrives and inboard engines; MotorGuide trolling motors; Teignbridge propellers; Arvor, Bayliner, Bermuda, Boston Whaler, Cabo Yachts, Crestliner, Cypress Cay, Harris, Hatteras, Kayot, Lowe, Lund, Maxum, Meridian, Ornvik, Princecraft, Quicksilver, Rayglass, Sea Ray, Sealine, Triton, Trophy, Uttern and Valiant boats; Attwood marine parts and accessories; Land 'N' Sea, Kellogg Marine, Diversified Marine and Benrock parts and accessories distributors; IDS dealer management systems; Life Fitness and Hammer Strength fitness equipment; Brunswick bowling centers, equipment and consumer products; Brunswick billiards tables; and Dynamo, Tornado and Valley pool tables, Air Hockey and foosball tables. For more information, visit www.brunswick.com.