Evinrude’s Nando Zucchi ready to “buy, build, transform”
Nando Zucchi took the reigns as Evinrude’s Vice President, Marketing and International Development four months ago facing an interesting challenge.
“We’re a great brand with tremendous heritage in the category and we’re a challenger brand,” he told IBI during an interview at the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) last month.
“So, we invented the category, had a lot of industry firsts for innovations, and yet, 109 years later, we’re a challenger brand, and I think that’s very exciting,” Zucchi enthused.
Zucchi broadly outlined the synergies and crossovers between the various divisions of parent company Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) that will be used by Evinrude and the BRP Marine Group to implement a three-prong strategy of “buy, build and transform” as it moves toward integration and delivering a “total user experience”.
“We’re still in the ‘buy’ phase,” Zucchi said – most recently exemplified by the purchase of Manitou Pontoons and Alumacraft – “and there may or may not be a couple of other things in the wings,” he hinted, adding that the BRP acquisition strategy is different than that of the competition.
“We’re not buying transoms to force people to take our engines, we’re buying transoms to develop against the marine platform and drive the knowledge base and earn the business of consumers and dealers.
“Our outboards have industry leading G2 technology, but that can no longer be a standalone product,” Zucchi said, pointing out that boats are the only motorsport product where the engine is not an integral component to the design and performance of the vehicle.
“We’re not buying transoms to force people to take our engines, we’re buying transoms to develop against the marine platform and drive the knowledge base and earn the business of consumers and dealers.”
“You don’t buy a Sea-Doo or a Ski-doo or a Can-AM and then decide what brand of engine you’re going to put in it,” he said. “The whole rest of the company is integrated products.”
According to Zucchi the ‘build’ phase involves building the dealer and OEM networks as well as the product line.
“We have some innovation in the pipeline that we feel is really game changing,” he revealed, describing it as “a new way of looking at outboards; a way to make the engine sort of disappear from the experience.”
Zucchi and BRP hope new technologies will be key to transforming boating and the boating experience not only for the boater, but for dealer and OEM customers as well.
Internationally, Zucchi said, strategy is in the formative stages, but indicates there could be acquisition targets outside of the US and that international markets are a “focal point to drive growth and make sure we’re meeting the needs of those markets from a product development standpoint.”
Zucchi’s professional background in outdoor recreation and personal experience as a long-time boater has made the transition into his new role easier, and prepared him well, eliminating any shocking surprises about the industry.
“The things that would have been shocking to me had I not been a boater, I’ve seen firsthand and experienced. That gives me added perspective,” he said, chuckling and shaking his head.