For the Record: Steyr Motors sold to Chinese investors

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Austrian-based Steyr Motors GmbH agreed in September to sell all of its shares to a Chinese investment group under the condition that facilities in Austria remain the worldwide production hub where engines for the European and North American markets are built.

Steyr Motors and subsidiaries Steyr Motors Liegenschaften GmbH and Steyr Motors North America are being sold to Phoenix Tree HSC Investment (Wuhan) Co. Ltd., a Hong Kong-based financial investor seeking to leverage European technology and Chinese “cost and market potentials,” according to the company.

“To be able to stay competitive we need new potential distribution channels and markets providing fast and sustainable growth,” major Steyr shareholder Rudolf Streicher said in a statement. “We are looking forward to become part of the next league of engine manufacturers and to the further development of the location in Steyr to a global engineering center.”

Phoenix Tree is investing in European and Chinese companies to strengthen the benefit of European innovation, research and development competencies and access to Western markets while adding Chinese advantages such as high market potential and low production costs.

Phoenix Tree plans to expand opportunities in the Chinese marine segment in which Steyr was already active. “The highly increasing demand for diesel engines in China can currently not be covered by Chinese engine manufacturers,” Stefan Hasper, CEO of GCI Management Consulting GmbH in Munich, said in a statement.

GCI Management is a consulting company that worked with Steyr and PTI on the deal.

“Steyr Motors develops engines at the highest technical level, but was so far mainly able to produce its engine range in small series,” Hasper added. “Through the partnership with the Chinese investor PTC the company now gets a direct market access to the Chinese market as well as modern local production sites for volume production.”

Production sites in Steyr, Austria, will be expanded to become the worldwide engineering center for the new group, with a focus on the development of new diesel engines for applications that include the marine industry. PTC and Steyr have agreed to the purchase of additional areas next to the existing production site in Steyr. Jobs will be added there in engine and injection development, project management and strategic purchasing.

Another goal is the implementation of high Austrian quality standards and safety requirements at production sites in China. “This opportunity originates from the mass markets of diesel engines, the vast low-cost manufacturing capacities and the abundant capital in China,” Xiaojiang Liu, a member of PTC’s board, said in a statement.

Capacity-limit legislation is sent to Senate panel

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A bill introduced in September by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., that would require the posting of capacity limits on boats larger than 20 feet has been referred to the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

In July, Schumer urged the Coast Guard to voluntarily adopt regulations after three children died when a 34-foot Silverton carrying 27 passengers capsized in Cove Neck after an Independence Day fireworks show.

Although an investigation examining the cause of the capsizing is still under way, there have been “numerous questions raised about overall capacity capabilities for such vessels,” according to a statement from Schumer’s office.

“This tragedy shocked New Yorkers and Americans across the country, and we vowed to do everything we could to prevent it from happening again,” Schumer said in a statement.

“Because the U.S. Coast Guard refuses to step up to the plate and require boats to post capacity limits, today I’m introducing legislation requiring them to do so. The Boat Capacity Standards Act of 2012 will ensure that all boaters, no matter the size of their vessel, are aware of how many people should be on board and will help honor the memory of the children who died on that terrible day.”

Garmin acquires Swedish supplier

Garmin Ltd. has purchased Nexus Marine AB, a privately held Swedish designer and manufacturer of navigation equipment for the sailing and yachting market.

The acquisition was announced in September in conjunction with the Southampton Boat Show.

Nexus Marine AB will operate as Garmin Stockholm AB, a wholly owned subsidiary of Garmin Ltd. Financial terms of the acquisition will not be released.

Marine Exhaust patents survive court appeal

The validity of two Marine Exhaust Systems patents was upheld in a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The company won a patent infringement lawsuit against DeAngelo Marine Exhaust in 2010. An appeal filed by DeAngelo resulted in the appeals court victory Aug. 28 on all counts by Florida-based Marine Exhaust Systems, enforcing the original suit’s ruling that DeAngelo willfully infringed on the patents.

The patents were for water-jacketed exhaust pipes for marine exhaust systems. Both court decisions found the patents to be valid and enforceable.

“We’re obviously happy with the court’s decision,” said Marine Exhaust Systems vice president Sheila Prieschl, in a statement. “We remain committed to protecting the costly research and design investments we make in our products. It’s been a long road, but the original truth still stands — our patents are valid. The unfortunate aspect of this whole process has been for customers who unknowingly bought exhaust parts that infringed on our patents and got caught up in the case.”

AquaQuad signs OEM deal with Suzuki

AquaQuad is now offering Suzuki engines with its rigid inflatable boats, matching the CLS model with a Suzuki 9.9-hp and packaging the CLX with the new Suzuki 15- or 20-hp EFI outboard.

AquaQuad says its larger UTE and LUX boats will be sold with a 50- to 70-hp Suzuki EFI engine.

“An OEM agreement with Suzuki is a great way to pair our boats with an engine we trust,” said AquaQuad CEO Oliver Nudds, in a statement.

AquaQuad says the CLS is best-suited for teenagers and older kids looking for an easy-to-maneuver runabout and that the CLX is for the tender and fishing markets.

The builder says its UTE is built tough and provides a smooth ride in demanding conditions and that the LUX seats four adults comfortably and is for all types of leisure speedboating use. All models are CE-certified, AquaQuad says.

This article originally appeared in the November 2012 issue.

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