Two executives from Volvo Penta, and the CEO of Seven Marine, the Wisconsin outboard maker that could become a Volvo company as early as next week, sounded optimistic about synergies between the companies. In a call with boating journalists following yesterday’s announcement, Volvo Penta President Björn Ingemanson, Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Penta of the Americas, and Seven Marine Founder and CEO Rick Davis fielded questions about the acquisition.
The officials were vague about specifics, including the financial terms of the acquisition, but Ingemanson said the Seven Marine addition would “shape the future” of the outboard industry. “This deal will grow Volvo Penta’s technology platform and allow Seven Marine to be able to develop their outboard technology,” he said during the call. “Their approach to exploring new technologies has been a key driver behind this acquisition.”
Seven Marine will operate as a standalone business retaining the same brand and current headquarters in Germantown, Wisconsin. Huibers becomes chairman of Seven Marine while Davis retains the CEO and president titles. The company will continue to build 527 and 627hp outboards based on a V-8 GM block from its facility Germantown.
The officials declined to answer questions about how quickly they expect production to grow, but Davis said Seven Marine will be able to react to new orders. “We’ll scale according to customer demand and we’ll do it right,” said Davis.
For the first time, Volvo will be able to offer outboards to its US OEM boatbuilder clients, many of which have moved towards large-horsepower outboards and away from inboards and sterndrives. Its global service network will also handle Seven Marine outboards. “This will also give us a possible opportunity to leverage different technologies like our joystick control,” said Huibers.
The executives also made the point that Seven Marine would use a “modular” approach to engines, “regardless of the energy source.” Ingemanson declined to say whether Seven Marine would produce electric-powered outboards, but said that the company is “following” that market. “We intend to be ready when the market is ready,” he said.
On another question regarding whether it would make medium-horsepower outboards, Davis said the company has the ability to “scale” its technology for the “ever-expanding market.” Huibers said he “expects” Seven Marine will be expanding its horsepower range.
Seven Marine currently sells through boat shows and a few boat builders, but the acquisition should allow it to grow through Volvo Penta’s global network of boat builder clients. “The builders we are currently dealing with are delighted with this new addition,” said Huibers. “They know we plan to handle it in a smart and collaborative way.”