Mercury Marine is adding a 53,000-square-foot manufacturing capacity expansion to its headquarters in Fond du Lac, Wis., to accommodate growing global demand.
The expansion will consist of 45,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity and an additional 8,000 square feet of office space.
Mercury also is investing in manufacturing equipment to better streamline the manufacturing process and meet the growing demands in the marketplace. The new space will be completed in January 2017.
Company executives alluded to the expansion during a conference call with investors and analysts to discuss first-quarter earnings.
“There continue to be shifts in consumer preferences for outboard-powered boats — 4 stroke versus 2 stroke, and greater-horsepower engines — which have created short-term challenges for our manufacturing footprint,” CFO Bill Metzger said during the call on Thursday. “These factors, along with future product introductions, has driven our decision to expand capacity to meet demand, particularly at the higher-horsepower range.”
Engine sales were up 20 percent in Europe, with strong contributions from the 9 percent overall increase in that segment coming from the new 350- and 400-hp engines.
The company continues to grow outboard market share worldwide, CEO Mark Schwabero said during the call, and continues its focus on strengthening in the saltwater, commercial and repower markets.
“Our plan has been to remain somewhat flat in fresh water, where we have a strong position, and grow in commercial, repower and salt,” Schwabero said.
With this expansion, since 2009 Mercury Marine has invested more than $730 million in capacity, technology and product development.
“This is an exciting time for Mercury Marine,” company president John Pfeifer said in a statement. “Demand for our product in the global marketplace has afforded us the opportunity to continue to grow and expand our manufacturing capabilities. This latest expansion will allow us to increase production and capacity to ensure we meet the growing needs of our customer base.”
This is the second major expansion to the Fond du Lac campus in the past 12 months. Last May, Mercury broke ground on a 45,000-square-foot expansion to its electro-deposition paint system that will significantly expand its processing capabilities.
“In 2009 we made commitments to grow our global headquarters in Wisconsin and create new jobs, and we continue to do both,” Pfeifer said. “We have very robust growth initiatives over the next few years.”
Mercury employs more than 5,000 people worldwide. About 2,800 of them work in Fond du Lac.