It only takes a second to recognize them, fall in love with them, and want one. Whether this is a boat, a motorcycle, a sup board or one of the iconic cars. In the world of cars, Brabus is mainly linked to the German brand Mercedes-Benz, but not only. In boats, however, the ideal partner has been identified in.
, by many accounts the revelation shipyard of the last decade.
Brabus: our interview with the CEO
In Palma de Mallorca, at the international debut of the Axopar 45 and the two new Brabus Marine thoroughbreds (the Brabus Shadow 300 and the Brabus Shadow 900 Deep Blue), we interviewed Constantin Buschmann, CEO of Brabus since 2018. That’s what the Brabus Effect is all about, that Wow factor that surrounds some of the most luxurious, high-performance, and iconic boats on the nautical scene.
Brabus is a name known in every corner of the world. In cars you are known for tuning, in boats for the Shadow range. But what is Brabus today?
Brabus is not a tuning house, just as it is not a yacht yard. Or rather, let’s say it’s not just that: the formula that best sums this up is luxury mobilty brand.
Why is it that whatever “object” you put your hands on immediately triggers a very strong demand?
No one really needs one, but everyone wants one. Whether it is a car, a motorcycle or a boat. This is what luxury is all about, and we are going all in on the “Brabus One-second WOW.” This formula sums up our way of thinking. When someone sees something from Brabus it must take a second for them psychologically to want to come close to having it. Every successful luxury product should have these characteristics.
What are the cornerstones of this “Brabus Effect”?
Anything marked Brabus is immediately recognizable. The strengths are bold and black, then extreme, but always manageable performance. Then add a passion for detail and the ability to enhance individuality.
When Brabus Marine was born in 2016, you actually began your nautical journey with Axopar. Yet they were just starting out….
Axopar has been among the 1000 fastest-growing companies in Europe for three years according to the Financial Times. For each brand we work with, we have different logics. Some products we build in-house, others are made in partnerships as in the case of Panerai or KTM. When we choose a partner, it is because it has to be a winner in that segment. When we started with Axopar 6 years ago, it was immediately clear that it was perfect for us. Many people have asked us: but why Axopar? Why not another luxury brand on the market? I told these people again and again that Axopar was redefining the approach to dayboats. It was only a matter of time, but the idea of Axopar was revolutionary, and that was the right segment for us to enter into boating. Today, in only 6 years, Axopar has become the revelation brand of the last decade, and this proves, for me, that it was the right choice. When we make an agreement we want it to work in the long run. For example, from the Axopar and Brabus partnership came real benefits that only the right and successful partnerships bring. In practice we did not have to set up a factory to build the boats, and Axopar did not have to invest in creating its own luxury range.
How does your relationship work?
When our collaboration with Axopar began, we started working on boats that had already been thought out and elaborated. The Brabus Shadow 800, the first ever, was a reworking of the Axopar 37, but we could not work on the design, on the drawings. We took the boat and reworked it, as it was. What we do today is a platform approach with a sharing of the initial design. We share hulls, but above then we make completely different products. They produce a boat that focuses on a quality standard and sales volumes, while we seek the highest possible quality, quality first. This requires an immensely greater amount of work, if only in timing. Each brand usually has its own molds, whereas in our case we wanted to create a common platform. This has been working for six years, because with a platform we also have more volume, more quality, more testing and more repeatability.
The Axopar 45 is the shipyard’s latest addition. What do you think?
The new Axopar 45 is a fascinating boat, it is innovative, it is multipurpose. In fact it is an absolutely versatile boat, the first 45-footer with outboard cabin cruisers, and it takes us into something new. Not only as a new boat category. Brabus side opens us up to something new and I see a lot of potential in this hull, because it gives us more room to “play” and decline our DNA in the product.
So will you go up in size?
With Brabus we wanted to enter a market with a lot of volume, because this is where the business and replicability was. We started with 37, then 28 and so on. This contrasts with our usual way of doing things, because we tend to aim for highly customized, limited-run, one-off models made in small series. In the case of boating, however, we wanted to tie ourselves to a brand like Axopar. However, now that we’re consolidated on this segment, let’s say it’s time to think about something bigger, and that’s why I’m looking with great interest at the new Axopar 45. This is because it is the right base to give more power, more perfomance and because we know this boat is made to be very fast.
What numbers does Brabus Marine have in a year?
The first ever Brabus boat was the Brabus 800. We thought we would sell one, then we managed to sell 15-16 within a short time. From there we realized that we had the right product at the right time, and we grew. Today we are up to 60-80 per year, and in 2023 we should reach 100 boats.
How do you choose your partners?
Many people come to me and say “work with brand X, work with brand Y” because they are better brands, and I say it doesn’t work that way. I don’t need the best brand, but the right brand for what we need to do. So I think Axopar is the best for us in the marine market, just as KTM is the best among motorcycles. This was one of our last partnerships, and I am very happy about it. Many people suggested to me that we should work with Harley Davidson, for example. Why not? Because we are radically different. Besides, Harley Davidson builds motorcycles in America while we are in Germany. Right now I don’t think there is a better brand for motorcycles than KTM.
The Brabus effect in cars and the marine is strong. Now the partnerships with Panerai and KTM have opened up new horizons for you, as has the one with Jobe already well under way for water toys. Are you going to other markets?
We start from a point of view that is not of product, but of customer. We never start with the idea of saying what the next car, the next watch or the next car will be. It all starts with our customers around the world and what could be capable of arousing in them this sense of awe. Of course, there are also overlaps between these products, so there are overlaps between our customers. One who buys a watch is the same as one who would buy a motorcycle or a car or a boat that share the same characteristics and so on.
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