Boating Industry

March 2016

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30 | Boating Industry | March 2016 /// Market Trends /// The One Drive transom has a larger exhaust output than comparable systems, minimizing backpressure for improved engine performance, according to Ilmor. "When someone buys a $300,000+ boat … they expect it to sound as refined as a Bentley they would get for the same price, and that's what we've tried to achieve, something akin to the value that they've purchased," Ray said. The new engine will be "marginally" more ex- pensive than comparable models from Mercury or Volvo Penta, but Ilmor believes customers will be willing to pay more for a better product. "It's been the foundation of our company, taking something that works and making it better, changing the expectations of what that product should be, to something that ultimately is advancing the boating industry," said Jessica Gamarra, Ilmor's director, sales and marketing. The company worked extensively with Formula and other boat builders to craft the One Drive. "These engines and drive were not built in a vacuum," Gamarra said. "We spent a lot of time with them, understanding the challenges they're facing with their current drive. What suggestions they had to improve the product, what they'd like to see." Formula has been "thrilled" to partner with Ilmor on the launch, said Scott Porter, president of Formula Boats. "Our decision to carry the new One Drive sys- tems was greatly influenced after Ilmor delivered over 10,000 reliable engines in water sports boats," Porter said. "We have paired the robust, saltwater resistant 430 HP One Drive in a twin application in a Formula 350 CBR, which is performing fan- tastically well and exceeding expectations. With super smooth hydraulic shifting, the One Touch joystick docking system is the icing on the cake." A "steady resurgence" of sterndrives will benefit the entire industry, Ray said. "There's plenty of room for outboards, stern- drives, inboards to all live in the same space be- cause they serve different customers," he said. "We're not trying to be the biggest engine com- pany in the world. We want to enjoy the space that we're in and be known as a company that produces something that is just a little bit better." Growth strategy Both Mercury and Volvo Penta have also re- leased several new products and accessories in the last year for the sterndrive market. But even as those products have come out, both manufacturers are also spending a good deal of time and effort talking about a broader strategy that goes beyond focusing on products. "Even if you produce one great product after another, you can still be behind unless you have a great ecosystem around it," said David Foulkes, chief technology officer at Brunswick Corp., in introducing several new products from Mercury at this year's Miami show. Foulkes explained Mercury's three-step strat- egy, consisting of building class-leading core products and integrated prop-to-helm solu- tions to create a "compelling, consumer-centric, connected ecosystem." With products like Active Trim, Vessel View, joystick control and more, boating can be easier and more enjoyable, Foulkes said. (Read more about Mercury's Miami announcements at mercury2016.) It's Mercury's decision to build it's own purpose-built marine engines, starting with the 4.5-liter V6 in 2014, that makes it pos- sible to invest in that type of technology, said Martin Bass, vice president of global category management at Mercury. "We now control our destiny. We don't need to worry about when an automotive company is going to change their strategy and what in- vestment that's going to force us [to make]," he said. "Rather, we can take our future product investments and put it toward things that are truly advantageous to the consumer. That's the kind of technology we can go invest in because we've taken control of our own destiny in the base engine design and you'll see a lot more of that from us." Volvo Penta is also emphasizing its "Easy Boating" initiative, with the belief that the best way to grow boating is to make it easy for new and current boaters to enjoy the lifestyle. Products like IPS, DuoProp, joystick con- trol, Glass Cockpit and last year's introduction of Forward Drive all further that mission, said Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Penta of the Americas. "Integration is the way that we deliver easy boating." Huibers said. "Today's boaters expect a trouble-free experience on the water, and we deliver this through our fully integrated helm- to-prop solution developed and supported by a single supplier." That focus has helped Volvo Penta of the Americas grow its total marine sales in North and South America by 12.5 percent in 2015. "We are particularly pleased that our North America marine gas and marine leisure diesel growth was even greater thanks to our dealer support, leading builders and new innovative products," Huibers said. The Forward Drive, introduced at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show, has helped Volvo Penta advance that vision, by appealing to a larger base of potential boaters. "Our introduction of the Forward Drive in 2015 is enabling the creation of an entirely new class of boats optimized for wake surfing and water sports as well as cruising, fishing and general fun on the water," Huibers said. "We are "When someone buys a $300,000+ boat … they expect it to sound as refined as a Bentley they would get for the same price, and that's what we've tried to achieve." — Paul Ray, Ilmor The Volvo Penta Forward Drive is aimed squarely at the water sports segment.

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