Fountain shows brand-new Bajas

Published 3:08 am Tuesday, October 7, 2008

By Staff
Company holds first Baja meeting
Staff Writer
After months of waiting, Baja dealers were eager to wrap their hands around the steering wheels of the first-generation Baja by Fountain boats.
On March 20, Brunswick Corporation announced the sale of its Baja Marine assets to Fountain Powerboats. Brunswick discontinued production of Baja boats in May, while Fountain officially announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Baja by Fountain, acquired Brunswick’s Baja Marine assets in early June.
Since that time, Fountain has been working diligently to produce its first line of Baja by Fountain boats for the 2009 model year.
Fountain rolled out its first Baja by Fountain boat in late July, but Monday marked the first time that many Baja dealers got the chance to ride in, and even drive one of the 2009 models.
Fountain welcomed 19 Baja dealers to the Fountain Factory Superstore Monday morning for the first-ever Baja by Fountain dealership meeting. The company will hold another Baja by Fountain dealership meeting on Thursday.
The dealers at Monday’s meeting hailed from Baja retailers across the country.
Throughout the day, the dealers were treated to factory tours, business meetings, catered meals, and, of course, test drives.
Fountain had almost a dozen Baja by Fountain boats on hand, ready to ride. The models included some of Baja’s classics, like the Outlaw, Performance and Islander.
Dealers spent the majority of the afternoon cruising the Pamlico River in the various Baja models.
Some could be overheard commending the hydraulic steering featured on many of the boats.
According to Fountain, any new Baja powered by Mercury 496 engines or larger will come standard with full hydraulic steering.
Will Murray, owner of Central Boats and Baja Virginia Beach, noted the stringer system used by Fountain in its Baja boats.
Murray, who has been selling Bajas for over 12 years, said he welcomes the change to a stringer system.
While the liner system used by Brunswick in its Baja boats gave a smooth finish inside individual compartments, Fountain believes that its grid stringer system ultimately provides a stronger backbone and structure for the boat, thereby reducing cracking or even hull failure, said the dealer’s pamphlet.
Murray said that his fiance enjoys the newly designed cabins of the Bajas.
Scott Kern, lead sales consultant for Shipyard Marine, a Baja dealer based out of Oshkosh, Wis., finds the biggest difference between the Baja Marine and Baja by Fountain boats in overall driving performance.
Kern said he is glad Fountain President, CEO and Chairman Reggie Fountain stuck with the “core elements” for Baja’s most popular boats: the Outlaw, Performance and Islander.
Overall, Kern said the modifications made on the Baja boats were “thoughtful.”
Kern, whose company has been selling Baja boats since 1996, said he is “anxious to see what Reggie’s going to do … to evolve.”
Kern believes the market for Baja by Fountain boats is still there.
That’s why his company, Shipyard Marine, ordered a few boats after test driving the new Baja models on Monday afternoon.
Murray said that his dealership would “order at least a handful of boats today.”
The Baja dealer thinks the buyout of Baja by Fountain is a great move.
Murray, a native of Greensboro, also thinks it will help the economy of eastern North Carolina.