GREENSBORO, Ga. — About 10 journalists gathered Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee for Honda Marine's first engine-testing event in two years.
Honda had eight boats in the water with engines from 2.3 to 250 hp. "Over the past year I've had several requests from media to test our engines, and not just the larger outboards," Honda Marine public relations manager Sara Pines told me this morning.
The event marks Honda Marine's 50th anniversary. The company introduced its first 4-stroke outboard, the GB30, in 1964.
The BF250, the 3.6-liter flagship engine, was the last outboard Honda introduced. That was two years ago. When can we expect a new engine from Honda?
"We are always tight-lipped at Honda about new products," Pines said. "Right now all I can say is we are working on new products. We will have no major announcements [about new outboards] at the Fort Lauderdale [boat] show. We can't rule out Miami."
About a dozen Honda executives and sales and marketing representatives were on hand to answer journalists' questions. Honda this morning made a 40-minute technical presentation before bringing the marine media to the docks, where the Honda-powered boats awaited. The boats, which ranged from a roll-up 7-1/2-foot inflatable to a 25-foot pontoon, are listed below.
"We know Honda engines are good, but we really want to drive home all the points that make them so good," Honda Marine assistant national sales manager Dennis Ashley said. "Sometimes we talk about price, and the great technical features fall through the cracks."
Honda's version of variable valve timing, VTEC (Variable Valve Timing & Lift Electronic Control) stands out as one of those valuable technical highlights, Ashley said. Among other things, it brings greater acceleration and fuel management to the engine.
• Roll-up inflatable (Flex Boat) with Honda BF 2.3
• MirroCraft (aluminum tiller) with Honda BF 9.9
• Bonefish (tiller handle flats boat) with Honda BF 20
• FlexBoat (three-person RIB) with Honda BF 40
• Bulls Bay (center console) with Honda BF90
• Flexboat with twin Honda BF 150
•Manitou Pontoon with Honda BF250
• Everglades 243 IST (dual station) with Honda BF250 IST