At a media event last weekend in Gothenburg, Sweden, Volvo Penta officials said the company plans to expand its line of Seven Marine outboards to include models that could potentially range between 250 and 400 horsepower. Volvo Penta acquired a majority stake in Seven Marine in July 2017. The outboard maker makes three models, a 527-, 577-, and 627-hp.
Volvo Penta CEO Björn Ingemanson told Trade Only Today that the company is currently selling hundreds of engines in its high-horsepower segment. “That is a limited group of customers,” he said. “We’re eventually going to target the volume market ranging from 250 to 400 hp. That is where our boat-builder partners want to see an outboard solution from Volvo Penta as well as our other engine types.”
Ingemanson declined to say when Seven would introduce new outboards, saying the company is working with Volvo Penta engineers on new products. “We’re not going to sell to consumers directly,” he said. “Instead, we’ll provide solutions for builders who are designing new boats.”
Outboards represent the largest growth segment among its engines, both in the U.S. and overseas, according to Ingemanson. “We’re starting to see the same trend in demand for larger outboards among European builders, even though it’s coming about five years after it started in the U.S.,” he said. “But it’s a clear, long-term trend. Seven Marine has given us a good platform to develop the range downwards.”
Johan Inden, chief technology officer at Volvo Penta, told Trade Only Today that his company had enough “synergies” with Seven Marine to be a good fit in its engine group. “We particularly like the architecture of that type of outboard,” Inden said. “GM is a supplier of base engines to Seven and also a supplier to Volvo Penta. We’re using the same technologies and Volvo Penta also has an experienced engineering team on the drive systems. We saw it as a nice fit, not only of basic technologies but the way we run our businesses.”
Volvo Penta views Seven Marine’s outboard line as another engine type offering, rather than a standalone outboard division, with the potential to integrate features as its sterndrive and inboard models have over the years. “Our strategy is to power entire ranges of boats for our partners,” said Inden. “Some want outboards as an alternative to sterndrives and are now asking for the same feature levels. They want integrated systems that include glass cockpits and joystick controls. We already offer an excellent user experience compared to other systems. We plan to deliver the same experience with the outboard platform.”
Inden sees Seven as having “started with a niche and now scaling” into different-sized engines. “Seven did an excellent job at finding a market that was not served by anyone and then proving its technology,” he said. “In us, they’ve found an industrial partner to bring it farther along.”
Volvo Penta relayed information about electric and hybrid systems for some of its engine types, but Ingemanson said nothing has been decided about creating Seven electric outboards. “No decision has been taken at all regarding the electrification of the outboard line,” he said. “We have seen movement in the market from Torqeedo and others, and of course, we will come back to that. But that will be a secondary step in the development of Seven.”