CHESAPEAKE, Va. – While the European market for marine engines was strong in 2006, the marine engine market weakened in North America, Volvo stated in its annual report.
Volvo Penta saw sales growth and high profitability in 2006, with sales of SEK 10,485 M and operating income of SEK 1,002 M — the highest ever in Volvo Penta’s history – but net North American sales were down from SEK 2,832 in 2005 to SEK 2,815 in 2006.
Despite this weakness, Volvo Penta said it continued to capture market shares in most areas of its operations, particularly the inboard market, in which the volumes for Volvo Penta IPS increased steadily. At year-end, there were slightly more than 100 boat models from the world’s largest boat builders with the new drive system, it reported.
To meet the increased demand for its D4 and D6 marine engines, SEK 100 M was invested in the Vara plant in 2006, which resulted in increased capacity to about 18,000 engines annually, according to the company. During the past five years, Volvo Penta has invested about SEK 800 M in the Vara plant, which more than doubled production and the number of employees.
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