This is the big announcement I hinted with:
Here’s the decode:
Hope I don’t have to say who Forrest and Nina are. Randy Hopper is the former head dude of Ranger and has the plans for about 100 bass boats in his head (another Hopper is his bro Greg). Keith Daffron, who along with Randy is Wood family, was the head of sales for Ranger, and judging by the number of Rangers out there I guess he didn’t do too good a job…lol.
Re: G.O.A.T., yep some dang good boats out there fer sher, and everyone doesn’t love a Ranger, but my 2c is Forrest, Nina and their folks/family set the standard.
Here’s some more Vexus staff, which you may recognize from “Wanted” posters all over the South:
My Q&A with Daffron:
Why are you guys back in the boat biz?
It’s what we do. It’s where our heart is. We took a little time off, looked at other things, did other things, but our heart kept coming back to this industry. We like to build stuff — we like to build good stuff. The [boat] market continues to shape up to where a play like this works for us, for independent dealers and for customers who like the experience of a quality product and exceptional service.
We wanted to wait long enough to be sure of what we believe, that there’s a market for [the boats they want to produce] and us doing it. Our business is built around independent dealers and avid customers, and as we see more and more consolidations within the industry…there’s always opportunity for the innovator.
Secondly, there’s a pretty good market out there — the economy’s pretty good, and [several boat companies have] supply issues…which has not really been the case since the recession of 2008-10. So it’s a pretty good time to be in this industry.
Finally, high school and collegiate fishing, and the tailwind behind that, reinforces our desire to do it. [The rise of that market is] a testimony to the efforts of a whole lot of people….
What does the name Vexus come from?
[Keith told me it comes from a Zydeco band he was in called “Vertical Entry Xylophone Under Stairs, but I said no one would believe that so….]
We came to it after a lot of trial and error finding names we could own outright in all segments we plan to be in…. We just like it. What it means the day it starts calling itself that isn’t really what’s important — it’s what it means years into it. Plus it’s easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and I think it’ll look good on a nice boat.
Will you be making a better or different bass boat or what?
Certain people might think we’re coming out with a Ferrari. We want to build a product that we aren’t afraid to sell, and a customer’s not ashamed to spend his hard-earned money to buy. Generally that means the top end of the segment…high resale values, and the boat the stands the test of time better.
When will we see the first ones?
We’ll introduce the product at the Classic, but they’ll be prototypes that were not built on a production line. We’ll have a production line soon thereafter. The product will evolve…to new models throughout calendar year 2018.
Can you say anything about price point?
It certainly won’t be the cheapest in the marketplace, but I think it will be one of the better values. …new technologies, quality, things we will reinforce behind the product….
Will you have tin boats?
Yes. We will build aluminum and fiberglass outboard-powered fishing boats.
Is Vexus just you guys or do you have outside investors?
It’s a privately-owned company that we’re a very big part of. We’re a small group of local people. We’ve worked with some great people through the years who have helped us and taught us a lot, but the opportunity to do something on our own is very appealing.
It’s a real exciting time for us…just a real unique situation. It feels like there’s a fresh energy about what’s happening and we’e glad to be a part of it.
My 2c: With Bass Pro Shops takin’ over the bassin’ world — and the US of A and eventually the United Nations and the galaxy — and independent bassin’ tub makers busier than ever, seems like a smart time to launch Vexus…let alone the G.O.A.T. pedigree these boats will have. As a diehard bassin’ head I’m pretty durn excited….
Check the Vexus site and Facebook — no boat pics at either. This vid has more info: