EXCLUSIVE: Hyundai Seasall set to unveil new diesel engine

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GYEONGGI PROVINCE, South Korea - A new marine diesel engine developed by Hyundai Seasall is expected to hit the U.S. market next year, company president and CEO SeungKab Jeong told Soundings Trade Only today at the Korea International Boat Show.

The new engines will be introduced initially in the Asian/Pacific market, then Europe, followed by the Americas.

Hyundai Seasall, a corporate venture of Hyundai/Kia Motors, is marinizing a 2.2- and 3-liter engine in several configurations, according to Ted Fagerburg, international operations director of the Korea-based company.

Fagerburg said he expects the engines to be popular in the United States because of Hyundai's solid reputation in the automotive industry. It's a "high-quality" product, he said.

"There are certainly opportunities with U.S. boatbuilders with boats that are exported, particularly to Europe, which is predominantly diesel," Fagerburg said.

The company plans to sell in the OEM market as well as through distributors and it recently signed WaterMota to be its first distributor for the United Kingdom and Ireland. It has not yet begun looking for U.S. distributors.

Fagerburg said the idea to enter the marine industry came from the "passion of a small group of engineers for marine. They knew they had a product that would be adaptable."

The company began working on the new engines several years before the recession hit, he said, adding that having a strong company like Hyundai behind it made it possible to forge ahead despite economic conditions.

"Considering our solid business foundation and already exponential growth, we fully expect to become the world's leading marine engine manufacturer in the near future," the company said in the boat show program.

— Beth Rosenberg