The sterndrive fiberglass segment is still navigating choppy waters. Quarter after quarter, the industry speculates that the segment has hit bottom, only to see it trend downward again. Many blame the decline on innovations in outboards. Others point to emission regulations that have increased the cost of sterndrives. Both are legitimate theories.
Sterndrive engines offer advantages over single-propeller and rudder-controlled inboard propulsion systems because of their ability to "trim." Higher maintenance costs once were a disadvantage, but advances in propulsion technology have eradicated that problem.
They’ve trailed outboards in recovery, but much quieter, more efficient models are on the horizon The industry has experienced modest gains since the recession, but the recovery hasn’t been consistent across segments.
Despite a steady decline in sales, a panel of industry leaders says the sterndrive will remain a viable propulsion choice for consumers.
The future of sterndrive propulsion emerged as a key issue during an industry leader panel discussion at the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo earlier this week.
Konrad Marine, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, was recently named Business of the Year 2010 by the Hudson (Wis.) Area Chamber of Commerce, the company announced. The Hudson-based company provides sterndrive technology to the commercial, recreational and military marine marketplaces. Konrad Marine said it recorded the highest sales volume in its 20-year history…more