Evinrude outboards have been killed by corona

Evinrude outboards set to end production immediately

[Image: Evinrude.com]

Evinrude outboards appear to have been killed by the corona virus. BRP, the company that owns Evinrude, says that it has hit severe financial challenges with the COVID-19 panedemic and for that reason, they will be immediately ending production of all Evinrude outboards.

Evinrude manufactures a range of outboards ranging from a 3.5hp portable unit, up to a 300hp beast. They are most well-known for their E-Tec technology. Evinrude claims that this technology results in their range of 2 stroke engines having ‘the lowest reportable emissions’. They also boast ‘more torque than all comparable outboard engines’ and that E-Tec outboards are ‘the most fuel-efficient’ on the market. 

Evinrude outboards killed by corona
[Image: Powertechmarine.co.uk]

Some might say that the writing has been on the wall for Evinrude for some time already. The corona virus probably just hastened an already inevitable end to the range.

Evinrude outboards have been conspicuously absent from the world stage for some time. Most high-performance outboard-powered boats have long been using engines from market giant Mercury, which is dominating the scene. However, outboards from the likes of Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda remain popular. Even niche manufacturer Seven Marine has been growing its market share.

Yet Evinrude outboards are typically nowhere to be seen. I don’t have stats on hand but just going by what the boat builders are doing, I think it’s fair to assume that Evinrude just never managed to get the market share of its competitors.

This could be due to its insistence on using two stroke engines. The world’s biggest manufacturers long ago switched to four stroke technology for their outboards. These have proved popular mainly because they are cleaner and more fuel efficient than two stroke engines.

Unsurprisingly, but also kind of ironically, BRP now says that its range of boats will in future be powered by Mercury outboards.

BRP still owns an impressive stable of brands. It includes Sea-Doo, Ski-Doo and Can Am, which are all very popular, particularly in its home market of the US.

Sea-Doo's 2020 range of PWCs [Image: Sea-Doo.com]

The market for outboard power continues to grow globally. Reasons for this include that outboard engines are considered to be more reliable than inboard motors, and that they are easier to maintain. 

The world’s biggest centre console boats are now outboard powered, and this has led to a combined sort of boating arms race. On one end you have boat manufacturers racing to build the biggest centre console yachts whilst fitting the most outboards with the combined highest power output. On the other end, you have outboard manufacturers constantly trying to outdo one another with the next biggest motor.

Not that I’m complaining. This whole effort is resulting in some poetic works of boating art. Just take a look at the boats made by Midnight Express, which I’ve written about before. Or the centre consoles by HCB – just take a look at this beauty:

Evinrude outboards killed by corona
One of the sexiest sterns on the water. HCB Estrella 65 with quint Seven Marine outboards. [Image:www.steinbergerphoto.com]

BRP says in the statement that they will be re-tooling their Evinrude factory at Sturtevant, Wisconsin to pursue ‘new projects’ but didn’t say specifically what those are. All we know is that it’ll be in service of their existing product range, which will include a focus on pontoon boats. The statement goes on to say that the company sees a bright future in the development of their boat companies and in the introduction of new technologies.

Finally, BRP told FishingTackleRetailer.com that they intend to retain the Evinrude brand and technology, closing the door on a potential sale of either.

Now that Evinrude has been killed by corona, its exit from the market leaves a small but interesting gap in the market and I look forward to seeing how the existing brands fill it.



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