THE Australian automotive industry may be on its knees, but a fledgling new luxury boatbuilder is bucking the broader trend in domestic manufacturing.
Gold Coast-based Elandra Yachts has put the call out to skilled marine industry workers to meet a rising production schedule at the company's Arundel facility.
The luxury boatbuilder says it has already taken on a raft of new workers to cope with a strong order book, but it's now looking to bolster numbers to meet demand for the company's new Elandra 53.
Elandra, which has a staff of 25, has budgeted to spend $3.5 million on research and development over the next two years along with plans to produce up to six luxury motor yachts in the current financial year.
The rising demand for skilled tradesman across the Gold Coast marine industry was revealed late last year when larger rival Riviera Australia put the call out for more staff to cope with s growing order book.
Riviera, Australia's largest manufacturer of luxury yachts, has boosted its workforce by 20 per cent over the past year, pushing to about 480.
Elandra, founded by Luke Durman and Tom Barry-Cotter (pictured), kicked off production last year with the Elandra 49 and it is currently working on a new 60-foot model.
While Elandra is a relative newcomer to the industry, establishing operations just three years ago, the company has had some early success penetrating the lucrative US market.
"The US market has been central to our plans for international growth from the beginning, but with the Aussie dollar in decline and the American economy so strong right now, we made the decision to capitalise on these factors by bringing forward our goal to establish a presence in America," says managing director Luke Durman.
"We now have representation in Florida, a location that is strategically important ahead of our showing on the east coast boat show circuit this year, while we are also building a network of select US dealers."
Elandra expects to complete between four and six boats this financial year, including three 53s and one 49. Its first US delivery of an Elandra 53 is scheduled for mid-2016.
In line with its Gold Coast counterparts Riviera and Maritimo, the company is leaning heavily on the US market to drive sales. The lower dollar has raised its target to 70 per cent of sales.
Durman says he is heartened by the broad recovery in the marine industry and he sees favourable market conditions for Australian manufacturers continuing for some time due to a normalised exchanged rate. He also sees Elandra playing a role in the overall health of the sector.
"We are committed to leading the recovery of the local market by meeting a steady rise in demand for high-quality, handcrafted motor yachts," he says.
"Elandra is offering experienced boat builders a chance to be part of a growing team that will produce the next generation of Australian built and designed luxury sports yachts for the global market."
Elandra is seeking to hire skilled shipwrights, cabinet makers, fibreglass laminators and marine engineers in its latest recruitment drive.
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