Sea Ray, Brunswick going jet and outboard, not diesel

sea ray inboard runaboutBrunswick is a seriously shrunk down company and its secondary line, after Hatteras yachts, is Sea Ray. Sea Ray has been told to reshape itself, along with Mercury and Mercury Mercruiser marine engines and drives. Brunswick sales were $5,600 million in 2007. Now (2011) they are only $3,748 million. Cut to the bone, they are profitable per Michael Verdon.

When did you last see a new Sea Ray Laguna at your boat show? A Ski Ray? How about a Sea Rader? A Pachanga?  A 21’ – 23’ cuddy? A Brunswick Sealine? A Baja?

Plus, some boat sizes / models are no longer made in the USA. The cuddies are made in Europe and imported to here, if you want one. Sea Ray will make boats in Brazil, starting this fall.

Zeus is somewhat in limbo. Brunswick owns it, but top management have not yet decided on how to service and warrantee it going forward yet. This became a new problem when Cummins and Brunswick dissolved their CMD partnership this year.

Zeus never had the sales success that Volvo has had with its IPS, pod drive. While Volvo makes engines for their IPS power package, Brunswick relied on Cummins for their Mercury Mercruiser engines, via the CMD joint venture. Some Cummins packages are still available, it is said.  Plus, Mercury is bringing in engines sourced from South Korea, Italy, perhaps Brazil, and Hungary, depending on the horsepower in the future. Due your due diligence if you are thinking of buying a diesel powered Sea Ray. Know where your potential boat’s engines were made. Right now, while Cummins has a USA diesel manufacturing / finishing presence, Mercury Mercruiser does not. Any engines that come from outside the US and need any finishing for marine application go through Brunswick in Belgium and then to the USA. Mercury strictly has management staff for diesels  at Fond du Lac, MI, USA only.

So where is Sea Ray Boats going? Right now, for under 20’ boats, they are offering an I/O powered runabout with a Mexican made engine. For 21’ and 24’ boat sizes, look for 2013 jet drives, powered by German-made Weber Motor engines and water jet drives. For over 30 foot Sundancer mid and aft cabin cruisers, they will bring out a twin engine Mercury Vernado outboard powered design with a narrow beam.

So, at Sea Ray boats, the real money-maker at Brunswick, it is down with diesels and Zeus drives, up with jet boats and outboards, contract US production and jobs, and make more product offshore.

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