By: Scott Way
Major ripples through the marine industry today as Mercury Marine announced it has entered a partnership with BRP to be the primary engine supplier for BRP-owned brands Alumacraft, Manitou, Quintrex, and Stacer. As a result, BRP will discontinue production of the Evinrude ETEC and ETEC-G2 engines effectively immediately.
According to Mercury Marine President Chris Drees, "This agreement brings us an incredible opportunity to further grow our brand in the marketplace and introduce our award-winning portfolio of outboard engines to new customers around the world."
Karim Donnez, the Senior Vice President of Marine Group, IS&T, and Global Transformation added: "We stay true and committed to our marine strategy, and we strongly believe that having two of the most innovative global marine companies to join forces, will not only be mutually beneficial to Mercury Marine and BRP, but also to the whole industry and to customers. While COVID-19 has precipitated the discontinuation of the production of our outboard engines, we will proudly offer packaged Manitou, Alumacraft, Quintrex and Stacer boats with Mercury Marine going forward."
The best insight into the current state at BRP and the future of Evinrude Engines came from President & CEO of BRP Jose Boisjoli who stated: “Our outboard engines business has been greatly impacted by COVID-19, obliging us to discontinue production of our outboard motors immediately. This business segment had already been facing some challenges and the impact from the current context has forced our hand... We will concentrate our efforts on new and innovative technologies and on the development of our boat companies, where we continue to see a lot of potential to transform the on-water experience for consumers.”
As a result of the new partnership, Alumacraft operations at the Arkadelphia, Arkansas facility will be permanently closed and transferred to their St. Peter, Minnesota location. A greater focus on boat production facilities will be the strategy for BRP going forward, and will be kickstarted by the manufacturing restructuring. 650 employees throughout both corporations will be affected by the changes. In its announcement, BRP clarified this move is part of their commitment to their Buy, Build Transform Marine Strategy which saw the 2018 acquisitions of Alumacraft and Manitou in the U.S, as well as the 2019 acquisition of Australian boat manufacturer Telwater.
BRP also teased further announcements, stating that a bevy of unique marine products intended to "transform the industry" are in development, including a new engine technology dubbed Project Ghost and a new pontoon design dubbed Project M.