The parent company of Evinrude will stop making outboard motors to focus on its boat brands, Valcourt, Quebec-based Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) announced on Wednesday, May 27.
BRP will repurpose its Sturtevant, Wisconsin factory for new projects as it reorients its marine business “by focusing on the growth of its boat brand with new technology and innovative marine products,” officials stated in a release.
Deal with rival signed
The company also announced it has signed an agreement with Fond du Lac, Wisconsin-based rival Mercury Marine to support boat packages and continue to supply outboard engines to its boat brands.
The moves impacts 650 employees globally.
COVID-19 final straw
“Our outboard engines business has been greatly impacted by COVID-19, obliging us to discontinue production of our outboard motors immediately. This business segment had already been facing some challenges and the impact from the current context has forced our hand,” BRP president and CEO José Boisjoli stated.
“We will concentrate our efforts on new and innovative technologies and on the development of our boat companies, where we continue to see a lot of potential to transform the on-water experience for consumers.”
Warranties will be honoured
The company will continue to supply customers and dealer network service parts and will honor manufacturer limited warranties, while offering select programs to manage inventory, officials said.
BRP’s Buy, Build, Transform Marine strategy began in 2018 with the acquisition of United States-based Alumacraft and Manitou, followed by the acquisition of Australian boat manufacturer Telwater in 2019.
New products expected
BRP plans to expand its presence in the pontoon and aluminum fishing markets through not-yet specified “technologically-advanced solutions.”
“We will leverage our track record of ingenuity through our research and development resources to enhance the boating experience with unique new marine products, such as the next generation of engine technology with Project Ghost and the next generation of pontoons with Project M, code names for new products we expect to transform the industry,” officials stated.
The company will also consolidate Alumacraft operations from two sites to one. All Alumacraft operations will be transferred to St Peter, Minnesota while its site in Arkadelphia, Arkansas will be permanently closed.
“In addition, we want to upgrade the boat production facilities to reorganize manufacturing sites and apply the modularity model used elsewhere,” officials stated. “This move is designed to enhance productivity and efficiency and to allow us to respond with even more agility to demand.
Brand steeped in history
Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC), which made Evinrude, Johnson, and Gale outboard motors and several boat brands, filed for bankruptcy protection in December 2000 before its assets were bought by BRP in February 2001.
OMC made Evinrude and Johnson motors in Peterborough until it closed its Monaghan Road factory in 1990. That site is now home to the Canadian Canoe Museum, which plans to move to new home on the Trent-Severn Waterway in 2022.