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Europe’s economy continued to gain ground in 2015, with GDP across the euro zone picking up to 1.5% in 2015 from a weak 0.9% the previous year.  In the absence of registration figures or consistent boat sales data for Europe we view data on new car sales as a proxy of relative demand for big-ticket purchases. In 2015, all but two countries posted growth across the EU28 region (plus Norway, Switzerland and Iceland).  New passenger car sales for the combined region were up 9.2% to 13 million units.  Particularly notable was the double-digit recovery in previously weak markets, with Spain up 21%, Italy up 16% and France up nearly 12.5%. Results from leading boatbuilders indicate that European boat sales began to follow the upward trends in the auto market in 2015.  Brunswick Corporation reported its marine revenues in Europe up 13% for the year, with growth driven by boats under 30 feet.  The company’s biggest European markets for the year were Scandinavia, France, Italy and Germany.  The Bénéteau Group confirmed a strong showing in Europe as well, where the builder generated 48% of its boat revenues, noting “particularly good” sales in France, Germany, Spain and Italy.  Similarly, Azimut-Benetti reported a 10% increase for its 2015 financial year to €650 million, with market share gains in Europe, especially with new models in the sub50ft category.


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