Highfield Boats, the world’s leading aluminium RIB supplier, announces that the company’s sales figures for the twelve month period ending 28 February 2021 have exceeded expectations despite the global difficulties caused by the Covid pandemic.
By the end of March 2020 EU orders placed with Highfield, whose factory is in China, had been put on hold or cancelled and the factory was forced to close due to the lockdown regulations. Fast forward just a few weeks as restrictions started to ease and it became very apparent that the demand for private leisure craft was sky high. By year end Highfield Boats had delivered 4800 boats worldwide.
“It is testament to our team at the factory and our group of global distributors that we managed to adapt and overcome some severe logistical challenges and end up exceeding our original budget expectations,” comments Highfield’s European Brand Manager Steve Harrison. “The global demand for leisure boats has continued into 2021. Our order book is already 70% of our 2021 target.”
Despite the challenging global conditions, Highfield’s launch of the new Sport range, a significant step up for the company, went ahead successfully. Specifications of the eleven new Sport models include greater onboard luxury while continuing to incorporate the company’s proven rugged Patrol hulls. During the same period Highfield Boats produced two new entry-level models for Honda Marine, the Coaster 54 and the Coaster 600. Honda Marine takes delivery of these into its own dealer network as part of its Boat Builder Alliance scheme. Both models are retailing for less than €30,000.
Highfield Boats has an ambitious strategy for future growth. Production capacity is set to increase at a new state of the art factory, twice the size of the company’s current building. Aluminium RIB production line will be more streamlined while using new robotic systems. Further new models will also be rolled out.
In the second half of 2021 customers will be able to view the Highfield Boats range from the safety of their own home in a new ‘virtual’ marina. 360 degree model tours will cover all the key vessels and enable choices to be made and orders to be placed for 2022 deliveries. Steve comments “We have seen some unprecedented changes to the landscape of our industry and the habits of our buyers. Developing a virtual, online Highfield Boat show will future proof our brand as we come to terms with the new market place.”
Despite restrictions in 2020 there were some event highlights for Highfield Boats. Not for the first time Highfield supplied a fleet of 46 security RIBs for the Vendée Globe, one of the only major sailing events to run in 2020. Both start and the finish were held under tight local restrictions and the race village was forced to close ten days before the start. Nevertheless the RIBs, from Highfield’s Honda-powered 6.6m-7.6m Patrol range, achieved their task as they did in 2016 without fault.
Highfield continues to grow its global network and now serves over 45 countries with 220 dealers and is indirectly responsible for over 1000 jobs worldwide.