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‘Beyond the road’

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Lexus and Marquis Yachts, which partnered to make the new Lexus 650, yesterday held a “soft” launch in Boca Raton, Florida, attended by 50 journalists from lifestyle publications around the world. The event was called “Beyond the Road.”

“They came from all over the world,” Rob Parmentier, president of Marquis Yachts, told Trade Only Today. “Kazakhstan and other places I’ve never even heard of.”

The multi-million-dollar media event in Boca Raton was the culmination of two years of work by Marquis on the 65-footer at its facilities in Pulaski, Wisconsin. The project included engineers from Toyota Motor Corp., who stayed in Wisconsin for the duration. It follows on an earlier boat that Marquis and Toyota made, a 42-foot concept yacht that is now in the Toyota museum in Japan.

The 650 is not a one-off project, but a semi-custom design that will compete with Sunseeker, Ferretti, Princess and Azimut, as well as smaller European builders in the 50- to 65-foot motoryacht category. Its list price is about $3.7 million. 

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Parmentier said hull number one is going to a client in Palm Beach after the boat makes it formal debut at FLIBS. Four more are in production. “Several are sold,” he said. “It’s a good-looking boat that is different than anything else out there. Two of the most striking features are the windows and large windshield in the main salon. They give a panoramic view like you’re in a movie.”

Parmentier said that it was a challenging boat to build, matching the same level of complexity as its one-off Sport Yacht Concept. “It includes a lot of curvature and unique designs, along with eucalyptus joinery and C-Zone electrical architecture,” he says. “Our team did a great job and our vendors supported us.”

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The pressure was on to make the launch deadline. The unusually large windshield arrived two weeks before the event. “We leaned on a lot of great partners. Everyone stood tall and it all worked,” said Parmentier.

Perhaps the most important guest at the event was Akio Toyoda, the chairman of Toyota Motor Corp. He had been behind the development of the original Sport Yacht Concept in 2016, and wanted a production yacht that matched the high-end Lexus brand. “He is a big believer in their philosophy of building for land, sea and air,” says Parmentier. “He was very happy with the 650 and couldn’t have been more complimentary.”

The Toyota Production System was used in the manufacturing process. Toyoda said the system “improves productivity and quality” of the 650. “This allowed Lexus’s ‘crafted’ philosophy of hospitality that anticipates a person’s wishes and meticulous attention to detail be realized in the form of a luxury yacht,” Toyoda said in a statement.

The media blitz from the event is already appearing across the internet, giving the Lexus much wider exposure beyond the boating industry. Despite that, Marquis plans to market the yacht through five dealers around the country, with an internal team to provide technical support, much as it did when it was selling Van Dutch yachts several years ago. “All we need is a handful of the right guys,” says Parmentier.

The new dealers include: Sovereign Marine Group; Tom George Yacht Group; Jefferson Beach Yacht Sales; CenterPointe Yacht Service; Needham’s Marine; Groupe Thomas Marine; Alexander Marine USA.

The three-stateroom 650 is powered by twin 1350-hp Volvo Penta engines with IPS for a top end of 31.5 knots.  

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