While the power boater in us all may be scratching their heads wondering what’s going on with 250HP, I have to take my hat of to the folks at Mercury for finally getting around at taking a big swing towards the entry level side of our market. The new 4.5-liter, 250-hp sterndrive/inboard engine platform is the first recreational gasoline engine designed and built in-house by Mercury, the company said.
Some of you may not realize it but the stern drive industry has been shrinking for the lack of a better term. Yes many call it other names in an attempt to avoid the truth but fact of the matter is that cost of boat ownership has become so expensive that the entry level boater has just stayed away.
Other industries were much faster to realize the need for response. As our industry is facing an aging demographic we NEED to introduce additional new boaters to the sport so that these people can grow with the sport. While I’m cheering that something is happening I’m still frustrated at how slow we have been to respond. Other powersports industries are so far ahead of us that we’ve got ground to make up. Bombardier unveiled new entry level jet ski’s that have rapidly sold out at dealerships around the country as they have reduced the cost of entry to the PWC market by 35%. They weren’t first though Kawasaki rocked the entire motorcycle industry by bringing the #1 new selling bike in the likes of a 250 Ninja.
With new boaters comes more economic investment and more innovation to our industry. While Mercuiser is debuting these new entry level powerplants we now need the support of boat builders to stand back and realize as the automotive side has that you start brand loyalty young and you build a lifetime relationship through quality products.
So in the end what were saying is thumbs up to the entry level market as most of us start boating in something much smaller and less powerful than we have today.