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MIAMI 2016: BRP expands market for Rotax technology

MIAMI — Canada-based BRP is in the process of making its Rotax jet propulsion technology available to additional U.S. boatbuilders.

MIAMI — Canada-based BRP is in the process of making its Rotax jet propulsion technology available to additional U.S. boatbuilders for the first time since 2013, though it hasn’t confirmed how many.

The company plans to enter agreements this year with “less than 10, but more than two” additional builders, Alain Villemure, vice president and general manager of BRP’s marine propulsion systems division, told Trade Only Today during the Progressive Miami International Boat Show Friday afternoon.

That is in addition to Glastron and Scarab, two brands in the lineup of Rec Boat Holdings (now owned by Beneteau Group) and Chaparral, which sells jet boats under the name Vortex. Those agreements were confirmed in May 2013.

Since then, the company has only given U.K.-based Williams Jet Tenders access to its propulsion system. “We’re seeing the segment is growing,” Villemure said.

BRP has moved carefully to ensure each company has time to develop a product and dealer network around the Rotax system, BRP CEO Jose Boisjoli told Trade Only.

That timing is different for each company. “We want to help make them as successful as possible,” Boisjoli said. “Scarab moved a bit faster because they signed dealers from Sea Doo.”

Until Friday, Glastron and Scarab were being led by Roch Lambert, who had years of jet boat dealer connections from his time as vice president and general manager of Sea-Doo, Ski-Doo and Evinrude for BRP US Inc.

On the other hand, “Chaparral had to go to existing dealers, and then explain and give training about the Vortex line,” Villemure said.

BRP will be sure that new companies that sign agreements for Rotax propulsion — and the dealer networks that come with them — complement each other instead of directly competing, Boisjoli said.

“Scarab and Chaparral are very complementary,” Boisjoli said.

Boisjoli also mentioned that PWC sales were up 25 percent and added that the company was always innovating, investing 4 percent of revenue in research and development — “If you come with the right thing, at the right time,” it works, he said.

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