MIAMI 2020: Mercury discusses 2020 strategy and unveils new engine

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The new outboard is designed for flats boats.

The new outboard is designed for flats boats.

During Mercury Marine’s annual press event at the Miami International Boat Show, president Chris Drees said that while 2018 and 2019 were revolutionary years for the company, 2020 is more of an evolutionary one.

“Mercury is about the entire propulsion system, all the way from the controls and rigging to the propeller,” Drees said in a statement. “It all starts with the voice of the customers and getting the products right.”

Drees said that the recently launched V-6 and V-8 outboards from Mercury and Mercury Racing make up 40 percent of unit sales. To keep up with demand, the company said it increased manufacturing capacity by more than 50 percent.

“2018 was the year of the launch; 2019 had to catch up with sales capacity,” Drees said. “We couldn’t keep up with the unprecedented demand. With the increase in manufacturing, we’re sitting in much better shape for next year.”

Mercury Marine president Chris Drees

Mercury Marine president Chris Drees

John Buelow, vice president of global operations, said that in the last 18 months the company has invested heavily in casting, manufacturing, finishing and automation to meet the demand for new outboards. “When we invest in automation, it’s not about eliminating jobs,” he said. “It’s not to replace them; it’s to make jobs safer.”

The company also said it will open a new propeller facility in April.

This morning, Mercury Racing introduced the 60R, a performance outboard developed for flats boats. Mercury said a 15-inch midsection allows the engine to sit lower on the transom, improving the center of gravity for better performance and easier polling in skinny water.

“The technical skiff community can be similar to our customer,” Mercury Racing general manager Stuart Halley told Trade Only Today. “We focused on two things: great acceleration and lowering the CG.”