Azimut Benetti brings 7-star lifestyle to high seas
Yacht builder combines design, engineering with Italian style10 October, 15:00
At this year's Genoa Boat Show, one of the leading international showcases for the industry, the company - founded in 1969 and owned for the past 43 years by the Vitelli family - broadened its already large product range with the addition of three new vessels targeting deep-pocketed pleasure cruisers: the Azimut Flybridge 80, the Azimut Magellano 53 and the Azimut Atlantis 50 (the numbers represent length in feet).
Whether you like fishing out at sea or riding the waves at near-airborne speeds, Azimut's skilled engineers and artisans deliver.
Azimut Benetti successfully brings together all those elements which customers look for in an iconic "made in Italy product", Giovanna Vitelli, the firm's Product Development Manager and a controlling family member, tells ANSA.
Buyers are especially drawn to Italy because of the history, culture, aesthetics and all the artisanal excellence that is found here and which often work together and reinforce each other, Vitelli says. The point is well made. After all, in a luxury yacht there is a bit of all those types of "made in Italy" which appeal to buyers around the world: design, engineering, architecture, highest quality materials and textiles, artisanal, made-to-measure fittings and details.
To drive the point home, in Azimut's stand at the Genoa show, Vitelli points to a large screen running a video produced in-house by the firm. It's a tribute to all of these things, seamlessly woven together, she says "It's about the pride of being Italian," she says.
But beauty alone isn't enough to sell a yacht that can easily put you back a few million euros - and this is often a entry-level price. Being a bit coy about the pricing of the firm's higher range, Vitelli says: "Legend has it that over 40 meters in length, the cost is about one million euros per meter".
The group's longest yacht measures over 90 meters, thinning out the ranks of possible buyers to sea-loving billionaires.
For the 'less fortunate' in the millionaire ranks, the Azimut group has a wide range of brands and offers that start at hundreds of thousands of euros. Buyers can chose from brands like Azimut and Benetti. The Azimut brand itself offers five different collections of products: Flybridge, Magellano, S, Atlantis and Grande, which reaches up to 36 meters in length.
Benetti produces mega-yachts up to 90 meters long.
In keeping with its Italian image, the company's roots are firmly anchored in Italy, where it directly employs over 2,000 workers and produces all its ships - bar those for the Brazilian market, where extremely high import tariffs require local production. However it is a truly global company - its boats and yachts sail in 168 countries and are sold through 72 dealers worldwide, including offices in key growth markets like the U.S. Hong Kong, Brazil and China.
The People's Republic is of particular interest to Azimut, so much so that the company has launched a China-specific customization platform called Dragon Series.
Chinese tycoons like the status associated with yachts but are not particular lovers of the sea. So Azimut buyers can, for example, eliminate bedrooms and move kitchens - often unused, as yachts spend most of their time berthed, used as floating business-meeting locations. In turn, more space can be dedicated to meeting rooms and socializing.