by Ben Sandman
Navico Inc. recently revealed its plans for high-end marine electronics brand Simrad at its inaugural Australian dealer conference on the Tweed Coast (NSW).
Simrad instrumentation onboard Hanse yachts
Attended by existing and potential Simrad dealers from all over the country, Navico staff provided an overview of the parent company and its brands, before delving deep into Simrad’s marketing activities and technical support which is now available under Navico’s leadership.
Simrad’s national business development manager, Glenn Davidson, said he was overwhelmed by the group’s positive response in regard to where the brand was headed in Australia.
'Although Simrad products have been available in the country for years, Navico has the ability to manage the brand more effectively,' Mr Davidson said.
'Navico’s Australian division is renowned for its exceptional retail and customer service through its dealings with Lowrance / Eagle products over many years, so Simrad dealers know we have the knowledge and the proven ability to get the job done.'
Another important ingredient in the recipe for success is the fact Simrad is widely-acknowledged as most technologically-advanced marine electronics brand in the world – among boaters and boat manufacturers.
In just a few months since joining Navico, Mr Davidson said he had also secured several OEM arrangements with long-range cruising and sailing marques.
Simrad teams with Maritimo
'We’ve been working closely with the likes of Maritimo luxury cruisers and Hanse Yachts to offer Australian boaters what they’ve been waiting for – quality equipment onboard quality vessels,' he said.
'While very significant, these OEM deals form just one part of where we’re heading with Simrad.
'The establishment of a tight-knit and highly-knowledgeable dealer / installer network will ensure the ready supply of product and a level of service to which Australia’s high-end boating market is unaccustomed.'
Hanse Yachts now with Simrad instruments
As it’s too early to use sales figures as a gauge of Navico’s success with the brand, dealer attitudes are the best indication as to whether Simrad’s new distributor is on the right course.
According to some of this country’s leading marine electronics outlets, Navico has plotted it perfectly.
TryMax Marine’s (Brisbane) Jim Carlson said it was 'very refreshing' to see Simrad re-launched in Australia.
'It’s great to see Simrad is receiving the marketing push it deserves,' Mr Carlson said.
'As it’s such a high-quality brand, it really needs to be in consumers’ faces and Navico has assured us that it will be, which has made many retailers look at Simrad in a new light.'
Island Marine Suppliers’ (Hobart) Michael Powe said he was looking forward to better and more reliable access to Simrad’s full product range.
'We’re particularly interested in Simrad’s very high-end equipment,' Mr Powe said.
'With Navico’s knowledge, experience and infrastructure, we’re confident the company will adapt and handle it all very well.'
Mainstay Marine’s (Sydney) Louise Mann was equally positive.
'It was great to be involved in the first Navico conference,' Ms Mann said.
'With this level of professionalism and dedication, we can see why Navico will fast become the major force in marine electronics worldwide.'
From humble post-WWII beginnings in Norway, Simrad is today acknowledged throughout the world as the most respected electronics brand in yachting, motoryacht and commercial marine markets.
The company’s massive product range includes autopilots, chartplotters, radar, sonar, gyrocompasses, GPS receivers and VHF radios, all of which are built to exacting standards and used by the most discerning boaters.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN (Founder Thorleif Robertson)
In the post-war era in Egersund (Norway), Thorleif Robertson started to adapt radio transmitters from the surplus store for use onboard the local fishing fleet. These adapted radio transmitters were the first products from Robertson Radio Electronics.
Simonsen Radio (Simrad) was established at the same time.
By 1948 Robertson Radio Electronics was producing its own radio transmitters and radio compass. With the local fishing fleet’s needs in mind, the first autopilot (the AP1) was developed in the period up to 1951.
THE NEXT GENERATION
The AP100 was the first autopilot with a microprocessor. This series was the beginning of today’s generation of autopilots and the swift technological development which has led to many sophisticated solutions for boat steering.
With the autopilot, Robertson established itself in the world market and achieved great success in the USA. Giro compass and ‘joystick’ steering systems soon followed.
In 1993 the company was taken over by Simrad and strengthened its position as the market leader for autopilots and other sophisticated marine electronics equipment. High-technology autopilots for leisure boats, fishing boats and other commercial vessels were produced, while advanced chartplotters and instruments for speed, depth and wind information were also developed.
Simrad Glass Bridge
In September 2006, Simrad Yachting AS was merged with Lowrance Electronics Inc., to form Navico – the world’s largest marine electronics company.
With a market-leading presence in over 100 countries, Navico is responsible for the development, production and international marketing and distribution of yachting and power boat electronics brands B&G, Simrad, Lowrance, Eagle, Navman, Northstar and MX Marine.