September 1, 2018

5% of Share

Sometimes due to wise past business decisions and a reputation build over the years and decades a company ends up with the market share nearly all in its hands.  Yet when you are up top sometimes it is easy to forget that the customer is first, and a so hard build reputation can easily be tarnished.
This is what is happening to Volvo in the last seven to eight years; in sizes sub ten meters in Europe, and sub twelve meters in North America, with the Swedish engine and stern drive maker dominating the stern drive market since the end of the nineties and the start of the new century.  The competitor to Volvo here though is not another stern drive maker like Mercury or Yanmar, or some other name eating the market.  It's biggest competitor in reality has been the customer who having seen the cost of servicing and parts increase, and reliability of its modern stern drive line introduced in 2004 diminish.  Result customers turned to other type of propulsion, the outboard motors who are dominating the smaller size market like never before.  The outboard engine has seen an unimaginable increase in the last decade thanks to the reliable, clean and modern four stroke engine, and little maintenance propulsion system.  You just leave the outboard out of the water and the wear and tear in the engine is practically nearly non existing.
The result of all this is that the stern drive share sub ten meters in the most important pleasure boating North American continent is in its lowest level estimated at 5% in the USA for 2017, all given to the outboard which has seen an unstoppable increase in recent years.  The bad news for the stern drive is not finished with the outboard market share in Europe also increasing not by little in recent years.
The future is also showing the Diesel outboard trying to enter the market with so far an average success from the likes of new names OXE, and Cox, and known makers as Mercury and Yanmar also putting a foothold in this.  Meanwhile Volvo has also purchased a major share in the big engine maker Seven specialized in engines over 500hp.  All very interesting news even for those like me who have always seen the transit from outboard to inboard, as the step which leads from a small to a big boat even if sometimes the difference could have been only just one meter.

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