New Volvo president outlines plans for new products

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Volvo Penta of the Americas will be releasing new products that will follow along the theme of the V8-380 gas sterndrive that earned it an innovation award at IBEX in October.

That's according to new president Ron Huibers, who says consumers will see more from the company that focuses on advanced integrated systems — in the vein of its IPS technology — as Volvo Penta continues its vision of making boating more fun, reliable and easy.

“We’re stable in our platform. We’re not taking a hard left,” Huibers told Soundings Trade Only. “For us, we have a lot of exciting products we’ll be releasing following along the theme of what we did in the gas business.

“We’ve got other products coming out to update and improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions,” he said.

Huibers, who has a long history with the Volvo Group, took the helm in August, succeeding longtime president Clint Moore. One of Huibers’ goals has been to continue providing support for customers in Central America and South America.

“We had a discontinuity with policies and procedures, so we’ve done this so we can provide a consistent support mechanism,” he said. “We know we’ve missed some opportunities there because customers went to a different region and had a different experience. We don’t think a customer should have a different experience, and that’s what we’re working to fix.”

Volvo Penta also will transfer an automobile approach to warranty and factory support into the marine segment, Huibers said.

“We have the longest factory support program, and we’ll be offering repair maintenance programs, whether gas or diesel,” Huibers said. “That way, it fixes the cost of operation for consumers, and we are taking on a risk to ensure the product is reliable. These are things I’ll be bringing into Volvo Penta that haven’t been there in the past.”

That step is important to get more consumers into boating, Huibers said.

“The vision I see that we have for Volvo Penta is about quality of life,” Huibers said. “If you think about boating, and I’m a lifelong boater, these are the best memories a person will experience, and what we’re doing is to make that experience the best it can be from a quality-of-life point of view — to make it easy, make it reliable and make it enjoyable.”

— Reagan Haynes

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