A Message from Mark Paulhus
The response to Tom's latest Insider update has been fantastic and there have been many inquiries about the current status of Bertram's operations and the availability of our great new products. I wanted, therefore, to take the opportunity to share Bertram's current activities relative to production and new product development with each of you.
Like most companies around the world, we are responding to the Covid-19 crisis in a way that protects the health and welfare of our workforce. We have closed our operations until May 1 and will continue to evaluate when we can safely reopen and restart production. We continue to employ our workforce, with both salaried and hourly personnel working from home. Office personnel continue to fulfill their normal job requirements, and we are using this month to have our production personnel go through rigorous online leadership, safety, and technical education programs. Our intent is for a healthy team to come out of this crisis smarter and more capable than when we went in.
We expect demand for the new 50' Sport, which was introduced at the Miami boat show, to be particularly strong when the economy begins to recover. We already have the fiberglass parts for hull #3 under construction and continue to work on some nice design and engineering refinements for this product which will be incorporated into each of the boats including hull #1. We are still accepting orders for delivery this year.
I believe that those companies that ultimately win in this industry are those that continue to invest in product, people, and process even when times are tough. We intend to be one of those companies. We have not been shy in declaring that our plans include the development of two to three new outboard models per year over the next 4 years and the construction of a completely new manufacturing facility to support this volume. Bertram is part of a great organization, the Gavio Group, that continues to support investment in the company, and we are making great progress on both endeavors. We have even been considering accelerating the development of the new portfolio.
We continue to be particularly excited about expanding our reach to consumers through the introduction of the new outboard portfolio and we are still targeting to have our new 39' and 28' center consoles at the Ft. Lauderdale boat show this year. We have had incredible interest in these products from both customers and dealers around the world who would like to represent our brand, so this is a particularly important event for us. Our engineering staff as well as our design, engineering and tooling partners are still working on the products as they can do so in a safe working environment. We are however, currently not operating our factory due to the desire to protect our worker's safety at this crucial period, and the status of other key component and equipment suppliers is questionable, so nothing is 100% certain at this time. We do not see any significant risk to delivering the 39' on time as we will be starting production as soon as we restart operations in May. There is some risk to 28' introduction at Ft. Lauderdale, but we still expect this boat to be completed by end of year with deliveries certainly in the first quarter of 2021. Updates on the new 28' designs and features will be coming soon.
I wish you all a safe spring and a great boating season when the waters open again.