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Mercury event in Miami previews new products

MIAMI BEACH - While acknowledging the financial woes of 2009, Brunswick Corp. chairman and CEO Dusty McCoy last night told more than 100 journalists and industry members that the company is in good financial shape as it heads into the next decade.

"This has been the toughest period we've ever been through, but we're here - better and stronger than we've ever been," McCoy said at Mercury's press event at the Miami Beach Golf Club. "Nobody else is as healthy as us in the industry, with our balance sheet. We're very comfortable from an equity and cash position."

The event gave Mercury a chance to preview the new products it will display at the show, including a 60-foot sportfishing boat with a quadruple 600-hp Cummins MerCruiser Diesel Zeus setup. It's the first quad-powered vessel for Mercury and CMD.

"This is something you have to see," said Mark Schwabero, Mercury Marine president. "With a lot less horsepower, the same performance characteristics are created."

Mercury also talked about its Hybrid Concept Vessel, a 42-foot express cruiser with electric and diesel power. The electric power works alongside a twin Zeus setup. The boat can travel up to 10 mph under electric power and is equipped with solar panels on the foredeck (under the sunpads) and on the hardtop, said Dan Balough, Mercury Hybrid Program manager. It also can shift automatically or manually between electric and diesel power, said Balough.

Schwabero recognized the importance of presenting new products.

"In this tough economy, we were working hard to continue our creativity with our product," said Schwabero. "Technology and performance are still the lifeblood of Mercury."

Other new products include a SmartCraft helm control and monitoring system that constantly monitors engine rpm, boat speed, fuel consumption and engine trim to automatically calculate and guide the skipper for the best fuel economy. Mercury calls it the ECO-Screen for MercMonitor, and the company said it can improve fuel economy 10 to 20 percent.

Also announced was the new Mercury 8.2-liter big block gas engine, three OptiMax 2-strokes from 115 hp to 200 hp, and sportfish-style controls designed to operate with any of its SmartCraft Digital Throttle and Shift propulsion systems.

- Chris Landry

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