Having begun production of the CXO300 in May 2020, we have since, successfully shipped 46 outboards to 14 countries. This could not have been done without the help of our dedicated network of global distributors covering every corner of the globe.
Cox Distributor for UK and Ireland, Berthon Power Ltd have had an extremely successful few months, from receiving their single installation of the CXO300, all the way through to selling a twin installation of the CXO300 to the very first customer. With that success, we caught up with Simon Barnett, UK & Ireland Sales Manager at Berthon, to find out more about working with Cox, his predictions on the market, and what the future looks like for the marine industry.
How long has Berthon been operating?
Berthon has been trading continuously since 1877, providing all forms of marine services and equipment supply to the UK & International Marine Industry.
When did you become a distributor for Cox and how has the business grown since?
Berthon was appointed the sole UK & Ireland distributor in April 2017. We have already delivered a twin installation of the CXO300s to our first customer, and are planning to deliver two single installations to another customer in January 2021.
Tell us about your facilities and what goes on there?
Berthon operates from 10 acres of land and 8 acres of water, with 46,000 m2 of undercover workshops and storage. We employ all marine trades including 26 engineers. Berthon is a multi-discipline business for all marine requirements providing equipment and services to the defence, commercial & leisure sectors. We also have a very active yacht brokerage selling private yachts, with overseas brokerage offices in France, Spain, Sweden, and the USA.
What has the market been like in recent months?
We worked throughout the UK lockdown engaging with potential customers and answering inquiries. With the slowdown in foreign travel, the marine industry has become much more local and there is a high demand from both leisure and professional users.
How have you seen the marine industry change over the decades?
The industry has consolidated with big groups buying more and more brands, engine manufacturers also becoming boat builders. The marine industry is hugely dynamic, and this consolidation has allowed new entrants into the market, showing that initiative, enterprise, and new technology have value. Cox is the perfect example for diesel outboards, Torqeedo for small electric outboards, and there is a constant variety of start-up boat builders too.
Where do you think the future of marine is going?
The huge change now is the widespread adoption of outboard motors on smaller boats by boat builders and boat owners. I foresee that this will expand to larger boats as outboard motors get bigger. Outboard motors have so many benefits over inboards: easier and cheaper to fit in less time; no hull penetrations for shafts, rudders, seawater intakes, and exhausts; easier to service; reduced noise and vibration; an extra cabin or additional payload space; and quick to change in an emergency. Already, the Cox 300hp is displacing inboard diesel engines, and Yamaha has a 425hp petrol outboard available. So, my expectation is that over the next ten years, many manufacturers of larger boats will choose outboards to replace inboard engines.
Do you predict a higher demand for diesel outboards in the next few years?
Yes, we expect to see an increasing demand for the CXO300. Companies are continuously looking to invest and improve their current fleet, seeking lower fuel consumption and a reduction in emissions, both of which the Cox outboard delivers. I am heavily engaged with a number of the UK’s leading design houses to validate the installation of the CXO300 aboard their current and future designs: this has raised the profile of the CXO300, and it ensures that designers are offering the Cox outboard to their customers.
What new technologies do you hope to see in marine over the next 5-10 years?
I think we will see the market adopt greener lower carbon technology, be it fully electric or hybrid. Larger electric outboard motors will come on to the market soon, but the limiting factors will be battery storage capacity and charging times.
How well do you think the CXO300 will be received by the market?
The interest in the CXO300 has been very positive. Inquiries are coming in from all sectors including offshore oil & gas, aquaculture, military, and pilotage, plus leisure users and superyacht tenders whose remote location makes fuelling with petrol difficult. Now that the engine is in production, and we have our demo boat on the water, customers can see that the engine works, they can feel its smooth operation and they can experience its quiet running.
Explain what happens after you receive your CXO300 outboards? What is the process to ensure the outboards are received by your customers?
We store all the Cox engines and rigging kits securely undercover. When we receive an order, we invoice the customer for the deposit, the payment of which reserves the engine(s). The delivery date is agreed upon, and the final invoice is submitted, and delivery is made once we receive the customer’s final payment.
How much involvement do you have with the customer once they have received their outboard?
Customer service is an integral part of Cox brand-building, and customer communication is key. Once the engines have been delivered to the customer, I follow up with calls to ensure safe arrival. I then support the customer with technical information and installation training. I ensure that the customer has all of the documentation required including the installation guides, both PDF and video. We have installed the first outboard aboard our demonstration boat, and that gives us the experience to pass on the lessons learned by our engineers, so helping the customer’s installation to be efficient and productive.