Jan 23, 2018
Boating Industry Canada had the opportunity to sit down and interview Ron Huibers, President and CEO of Volvo Penta of the Americas, Fred Lachlan, National Marine Sales Manager of Volvo Penta Canada, and Chris Chapman, Canadian Dealer Sales Manager of Volvo Penta, at the Toronto International Boat Show. Ron Huibers said that he believes the best days lie ahead for the marine industry.
Volvo Penta has been following a steady path of innovation and product introduction that now includes four different lines of IPS models, engines up to the 1000 hp D13, a recent Innovation Award win for a D13 shaft drive boat that had been upgraded to joystick docking and then their 2017 move into outboard power with the acquisition of Seven Marine.
The Seven Marine 557 and 627 hp outboard engines seem outrageous until you see how many new boats are being rigged with triple and even quad 300s or 350s so it’s obvious the market has an appetite for big power.
The market also wants big thrust. That’s where Volvo Penta’s new Forward Drives are making significant progress. In 2017, 23 different boat models were using the Forward Drive and that has expanded to 40 different models for 2018. The market is still growing for this and as Huibers pointed out the Forward Drive has almost created a new market.
People are finding that the Forward Drive can deliver a great wake surfing experience while at the same time handling and running like a more conventional stern drive boat when you’re not doing tow sports.
The group also talked about self-driving and electronics. With so much media attention focused on self-driving cars, it’s amusing that electronic navigation equipment and auto helm systems gave us self-driving boats years ago.
Still, the Volvo group is very active in electronic mobility, especially given their big footprint in the trucking industry. It’s very logical that the glass helm integration that Volvo has been working on for a number of years will continue to progress.
Ron Huibers teased us with the news that there would be a major announcement in Connectivity from Volvo Penta at the Miami International Boat Show in a few weeks.
We’ll be there!