May 28 2020
The crisis linked to the Covid 19 outbreak has just claimed its first victim in the world of boating and yachting. The Evinrude outboard motor brand, which had been in trouble for years and which had produced the very first outboard motor in 1907 (!!!), will definitively cease its activities. Its owner, the Canadian BRP Group, will now focus its energy on the manufacturing of recreational boats.
It's a real thunderbolt that shakes the world of pleasure boating and will reshuffle the cards in depth for the years to come in the world of outboard motors: by killing the Evinrude brand and concentrating on the production of pleasure boats, BRP draws the bitter conclusion of a breakthrough strategy, which will have led Evinrude to marginalize itself, by relying on 2-stroke engine technology, when all manufacturers will have switched to 4-stroke engines...
In spite of all the qualities of its E-Tech engines (torque at low revs, emissions, acceleration), it is clear that yachtsmen will not have followed suit, as the brand only maintained significant positions in North America and Scandinavia, as its founder, the American Ole Evinrude, has Norwegian origins.
The decision announced yesterday in the United States has plunged the 650 employees of the Evinrude plant, based in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, into great anxiety, even though BRP has announced that the site will be redirected into new nautical activities.
BRP's disinvestment from the marine engine world explains in hindsight its strategy in recent months, which has consisted of buying out pleasure boat builders - Alumacraft, Manitou, Telwater - in order to diversify its business. A strategy that breaks with the group's decision taken in 2012, when it decided to exit this market by stopping the construction of Sea-Doo boats, formerly Celebrity Boats, (which will ultimately be partly taken over by Rec Boats Beneteau under the Scarab brand...).....
With the discontinuation of Evinrude, the BRP group will now position itself as a specialist in small outboard motor boats, with strong positions in North America and Australia.
As for their powertrains, BRP has just signed a partnership with the giant Mercury Marine, which logically should regain valuable market share in its global battle with Yamaha, as part of the Evinrude dealer network has taken up the Brunswick group's brand.
In this nautical mercato, what will be the guarantees, the availability of spare parts and after-sales service?
A real question which does not tire of questioning the followers of the Evinrude brand, popularized in the cinema by the cartoon Bernard and Bianca...