Valcourt, Quebec, BRP (TSX: DOO; NASDAQ: DOOO) announced today it has re-oriented its marine business by focusing on the growth of its boat brands with new technology and innovative marine products. The company will discontinue production of Evinrude E-TEC and E-TEC G2 outboard engines. Its Sturtevant, Wisconsin facility will be repurposed for new projects to pursue BRP’s plan to provide consumers with an unparalleled experience on the water.
BRP says it remains committed to their Buy, Build, Transform Marine strategy which has been underway since 2018 with the acquisition of Alumacraft and Manitou boat companies in the U.S., followed by the acquisition of Australian boat manufacturer Telwater in 2019.
“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,” said José Boisjoli, President and CEO of BRP. “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,” he added.
Following BRP’s decision to discontinue E-TEC and E-TEC G2 outboard engines, the company has signed an agreement with market leader Mercury Marine to support boat packages and continue to supply outboard engines to their boat brands. BRP says they will continue to supply customers and dealer network service parts and will honor manufacturer limited warranties, plus offer select programs to manage inventory. These decisions will impact 650 employees globally.
With this announcement, BRP plans to position itself to expand its presence in the pontoon and aluminum fishing markets through technologically advanced solutions. They will leverage their R&D resources to enhance the boating experience with unique new marine products, such as the next generation of engine technology with Project Ghost and the next generation of pontoons with Project M, code names for new products we expect to transform the industry.
BRP will also consolidate Alumacraft operations from two sites to one. All Alumacraft operations will be transferred to St Peter, Minnesota and the Arkadelphia, Arkansas will be permanently closed. In addition, they will upgrade the boat production facilities to reorganize manufacturing sites and apply the modularity model used elsewhere in BRP’s ecosystem.
FTR reached out to BRP regarding the future of Evinrude and received the following replies regarding the iconic brand’s future.
Q: Will you keep the doors open to produce Evinrude engines again someday?
BRP: We are re-orienting our marine strategy and concentrating our efforts on next generation engine technology, publicly known as Project Ghost, our boat business and other marine projects where we see a lot of potential to transform the on-water experience for consumers. We have no plan to bring back the production of outboard engines E-TEC and E-TEC G2.
Q: Will you sell the brand or the technology of your Evinrude engines?
BRP: Evinrude has a long history and we will maintain the trademark. At this point, we have no intention of selling the brand or the technology of Evinrude.
Q: Evinrude is obviously an iconic American outboard brand, one of the true giants in that world. Does BRP plan to completely eliminate the brand from the industry?
BRP: Evinrude has a long history and we will maintain the trademark. At this point, we have no intention of selling the brand or the technology of Evinrude. The Evinrude name will remain as we have outboard engines in the market, and we will continue to supply customers and dealer network service parts as needed and honor our manufacturer limited warranties and extended service contracts. For the moment, we retain the trademark and the patents and have no intention of selling these.
Q: What should existing Evinrude owners know about ongoing maintenance for their outboards?
BRP: We will continue to supply customers and the dealer network service parts as needed and honor our manufacturer limited warranties and extended service contracts.
Q: How long will Evinrude maintain technician training and support for replacement parts?
BRP: Over 1,000 dealers and distributors, globally, will be impacted. We will honor our commitments and work with them to ensure a smooth transition.
Q: Will Evinrude continue to fulfill existing engine orders for 2020?
BRP: Along with the dealer inventory, we have enough inventory to ensure a smooth transition. Most customers who have ordered an engine will receive their units in a timely manner.