Whangarei firm targetting Australia

Whangarei firm targetting Australia
Blackdog Cat has been working on broadening its product range to meet the Australian market in the past 12 months.

Last year’s expansion of Blackdog Cat’s manufacturing facility in Whangarei has enabled the company to double its number of fabricators, double its production, and meet the company’s big push into Australia.
“We have attended three boat shows in Australia this year with another two to come, which is really boosting our presence and spurring more interest from our two dealers over there,” says Blackdog Cat owner Luke Ogle.
“Australia for us is a much bigger market than New Zealand, and the cost of getting boats over there is negligible. “We can put three boats in a 40 foot container, if we load it in a smart way, and that costs less than $1500 per boat to ship it over.”
Luke says Australian boaties have a whole different perception of what a boat should have.
Although Australian sea conditions are similar to New Zealand, their ideas of what they want in their boats are different.
“For example, in New Zealand boaties want plastic fuel tanks they can remove and take to the gas station to fill up, where Australians prefer built in tanks. Australians are worried about falling out of their boats.
“A lot of Australian boats have much higher gunnels because they don’t want to fall into shark or crocodile infested waters.”
Luke says Blackdog Cat has been working on broadening its product range to meet the Australian market in the past 12 months, and on its visit to the Auckland on Water Boat Show in September, took some boats designed to appeal to Kiwi boaties. “Kiwis like something a bit more family friendly,” he says.
“We released a new model 6.5 Hardtop and a new concept on an older designed 5.1 Hardtop, with a few more options like a bunk in the front so people can overnight or chuck the kids up there.
“We are all about trying to innovate and develop what we have to better meet the market. What people are expecting is always changing.”
More and more people today are wanting to take little trailer boats out game fishing, and by adding features like positive buoyancy, stability, and fuel economy Blackdog Cat can allow people to do that.
“So they feel more comfortable. If they get out there and weather turns to custard, they can get home safe and sound.”
The boating accessories market is also rapidly changing, and Blackdog Cat keeps up with all the new developments.
“We’ve now got electric trolling motors controlled by GPS so people can hold their boat in position without anchoring. At Blackdog Cat, we’re coming up with a mounting bracket for that, and reconfiguring our dashboards to provide for bigger and bigger fish finding screens.”
Blackdog Cat has its sights set on continuing its momentum of growth, and has recently been fielding enquiries from North America and the United Arab Emirates. No matter how Blackdog Cat’s push into the wider world turns out, its boats will always be made in Whangarei.
“We will never outsource that, Blackdog Cat will always be made in New Zealand in Whangarei. There is a huge network of boating industry suppliers here, it’s the perfect place to do what we’re doing.”
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