Boating Industry

February 2014

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Page 32 of 51

/// Market Trends /// It's no secret that over the last several years, outboards have been leading the industry recovery. As the marine industry slowly improves, the sales gap between sterndrives and outboards has continued to grow. Outboard-powered boats continued to lead the way in 2013, with sales up 8.8 percent through September, compared with a 7.8 percent decline in sterndrive unit sales, according to Info-Link. Over the last several months, sterndrive manufacturers have announced new initiatives that should help to boost that part of the industry. At the same time, outboard makers say their continued innovation and ease of use will keep that segment strong as well. A large portion of the industry agrees as well, as shown by our latest reader survey, where 77 percent said they expect an increase in outboard sales this year – and only 5 percent expect a decrease. (Read more from the survey on p. 12.) New product, new business The wave of new products in the last couple years has reinvigorated the outboard segment, manufacturers say, by bringing the experienced boaters back into the marketplace. "The serious boater... is stepping back into the market," said Dean Burnett, vice president with Yamaha's Marine Group. "What he's looking for is something better than what he has. We see that guy is staying in the same horsepower in most cases that he is today. What he wants is something new." Yamaha rolled out several new engines over the last year, led by the F200, a four-cylinder four-stroke engine that weighs in at 487 lbs., 119 lbs. lighter than its predecessor. The F200 is available with digital electronic control or mechanical control. "The 200 was all plus business for us, it was remarkable for us," Burnett said. "We figured it would eat into other things we sold, like the four-cylinder 150. We sold more 150s [in 2013] than 2012." The F200, and the new VMAX SHO 150, both won innovation awards at the 2013 IBEX show. With the success of the 200, Yamaha will be introducing a new 115 and a 175 in the first quarter of this year, both lighter and quieter than the previous models. "That type of technology and plus-one from a feature standpoint is what people are looking P32x36-BI14FEB-MarketTrends.indd 33 Joystick control is one of the new innovations bringing more boaters back into the market. February 2014 | Boating Industry | 33 1/8/14 12:53 PM

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