John Lu, President of Horizon and Horizon Group CEO has held discussions with current owners, Gary and Janette Wahlstedt to affect the takeover of operations in Australia and New Zealand and restructuring them in line with the business globally.
This will make the Australian dealership consistent with the structure of Horizon dealerships internationally, as part of the company’s broader strategy to ensure synergy in the owner experience worldwide: service, support, communication and branding.
Gary Wahlstedt, who has held the exclusive dealer rights for Horizon Yacht in Australia and New Zealand since January 2015 said “This has come about very quickly and a surprise to all of us”.
“John made us an offer which was very generous to take control and structure the business the same as the rest of the world. This has been such an enjoyable time being involved with a global company such as Horizon and watching the ongoing improvements in the product under the guidance of John Lu.
“I sincerely wish John all the best and I know he will continue to grow the product internationally.”
The agreement was that Mark Western and Erica Rae remain in the Australian business, so the transition can be as smooth as possible for clients.
Mark Western, who has been with Horizon for 13 years, will remain manager of Horizon International Australia and Erica Rae who has been with Horizon for eight years will continue as Executive Assistant.
With their new branding and new releases in the pipeline, Mark and Erica will attend the 2018 Sydney International Boat Show and welcome guests and visitors to the Australian launch of the much-anticipated Horizon V81.
At 24.72 metres, the V81 will be among the largest on-water at SIBS 2018, a worthy descendent of the popular V72 and this year, marking a decade of the popular V series.
“We are extremely grateful and proud of the efforts of the HMYA team led by Gary, who over the past three years have contributed to the evolution of the brand in Australia and New Zealand and to its strong positioning,” said John Lu.
“Mark Western is passionate about our brand and our business, and we have great confidence that with the resources and strength of Horizon HQ, he and his team will build on these achievements and propel Horizon into new opportunities going forward.”
Mr Western added his endorsement for the new structure.
“Horizon Yacht Australia will now have the added resources of the 1,000-plus factory backed staff and support, which will now improve previous support. Owners can be assured that they are buying direct from the factory so there’s peace of mind when buying and 5-star service and support.
“The factory will ensure Horizon has even more new models at every Australian boat show, which is fantastic for Horizon devotees and the boat show public.
“Adding an extra dimension to the Horizon owner experience, there will be more opportunities for owners’ rendezvous in Australia – something we know will appeal to our adventurous and social owners who are passionate about their Horizons and keen to share their boating experiences.”
At the 2018 Sydney International Boat Show, Horizon Yacht Australia will have two sensational models on-water – the all-new V81 and the in-demand E88.
From Horizon HQ, President of Vision, Austin Lin will attend SIBS, and John Lu is scheduled to visit Australia for the official “reunification” event later in the year, coinciding with the delivery of two FD85 fast displacement motor yachts – another milestone for the Australian dealership.
“The second half of 2018 we will raise the profile of Horizon in our region,” said Mr Western. “We are looking forward to exciting times ahead for the brand, the business and the profile of Horizon in Australia.”