MIAMI 2017: Mercury Marine president touts ‘intuitive design’ of products

Posted on Written by Chris Landry
Mercury Marine president John Pfeifer speaks during a dinner and press conference for recreational marine writers at the Skydeck Miami rooftop restaurant in Miami Beach.

Mercury Marine president John Pfeifer speaks during a dinner and press conference for recreational marine writers at the Skydeck Miami rooftop restaurant in Miami Beach.

MIAMI BEACH — Promising reliability and intuitive design, Mercury Marine executives gave journalists a preview Wednesday night of an array of new products it will introduce today at the Miami International Boat Show.

“We need to deliver products that work as they were intended to work throughout their lifespan,” Mercury Marine president John Pfeifer told the marine media during a dinner and press conference at the Skydeck Miami rooftop restaurant.

“[Products] must have incredible durability. Intuitive design is fundamental to Mercury. We make a very complicated product, and consumers understand it’s complicated, but they only care that it’s really easy to use, easy to understand and easy to service.”

During his presentation, Pfeifer read quotes from consumers and marine industry partners that touted Mercury’s dedication to technology and durability.

“When we see boats come back in for service, it’s clear to us that … Mercury is doing an amazing job,” Ken Clinton, president of Intrepid Powerboats, was quoted as saying.

Pfeifer emphasized the company’s commitment to making sure its engines operate with low noise and vibration. He cited a popular in-house test in which a glass of wine is placed on top of two idling engines — one a Mercury and the other from a competitor. The glass on top of the Mercury remains still while the glass on top of the other engine “dances around until it falls off [the engine],” he said.

This year Mercury will introduce everything from a new diesel inboard to a new racing sterndrive engine to advanced station-keeping technologies for its joystick system.

David Foulkes, chief technology officer of Brunswick and vice president of product development and racing for Mercury Marine, ran through all of the products. One of the most significant is the 6.7-liter diesel engine in 480-, 500- and 550-hp models. They will be available as inboards or packaged with the Mercury Zeus pod drive.

“We can now bring to the market a total solution for this mid-range diesel segment, which is a growing segment,” Foulkes told Soundings Trade Only after his presentation.

He said integration of the Mercury joystick technology made great strides in 2016, with sales of Mercury joystick systems jumping 70 percent from 2015 to 2016.

“Joystick technology has taken off for us on all levels,” he said.

The popularity of Mercury’s VesselView technology, which collects engine, navigation and boat system data and displays it at the helm on one screen, has also done well, added Foulkes. The new VesselView 703 is the next generation of VesselView. It incorporates the new Simrad SolarMAX HD display.

Mercury Skyhook station-keeping technology also has been upgraded with advanced features, including DriftHook, BowHook and Heading Adjust.

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