Genmar’s Jacobs blasts Mercury’s dumping allegations

MINNEAPOLIS – In a scathing five-page letter addressed to all U.S. boat manufacturers and marine dealers Monday, Genmar Holdings, Inc. chairman and CEO Irwin L. Jacobs, was sharply critical of Mercury Marine, accusing the company of filing its recent anti-dumping complaint to drive up the price of outboard engines.

“On its face along with the real facts, I believe Mercury’s anti-dumping complaint against Yamaha is the most ridiculous and abusive statement of the facts I’ve ever encountered,” Jacobs wrote. “I believe the Mercury anti-dumping complaint filed against the Japanese is an abuse of our U.S. Government’s system as well as a substantial waste of taxpayer money.

“If the U.S. Government allows [Mercury] to substantially raise engine prices through their anti-dumping complaint, imagine what they someday will be able to do by combining their outboard engine price advantage with their own boat companies against the rest of the industry. The entire boating industry will forever change and not in a positive way.”

Jacobs urged boat manufacturers and dealers to contact the government agencies involved and voice their opposition to Mercury’s actions.

In response to Jacobs’ letter, Mercury Marine issued this brief statement: “Mercury recognizes that everyone certainly has a right to express his or her opinion about any subject, and Mr. Jacobs has expressed his.”

Scare tactics?

Jacobs also urged manufacturers and dealers to contact Yamaha directly with any questions or concerns they had, and said he had personally received several worried calls within one hour of yesterday’s U.S. Department of Commerce ruling – a preliminary finding of guilt against Japanese engine manufacturers accused of dumping product in the U.S.

Jacobs said those he talked to told him that Mercury had called them and “attempted to scare them by telling them that Yamaha was going to have to raise their outboard engine prices by over 20 percent” in response to the ruling.

“There is nothing further from the truth, and I suggest to anyone who is either concerned or confused by Mercury’s back-handed dealing and untruths that you should call Yamaha directly,” Jacobs wrote.

Jacobs was also critical of the DOC finding, arguing as the Japanese companies themselves have, that comparing the prices of engines sold to retail marine dealers in Japan with the prices of engines sold to U.S. boat manufacturers was invalid.

“The DOC/ITA obviously wasn’t or isn’t capable of figuring out this simple situation,” Jacobs wrote. “Frankly, it’s as if they have no interest in the facts, but only in how they can protect a U.S. company that cannot admit they aren’t able to compete with the Japanese because they do not have the technology or products to do so.”

More accusations

Jacobs made several other arguments against Mercury, including:

  • Genmar has paid more for Yamaha outboard engines than for Mercury engines.
  • Mercury has been unable to compete with the Japanese because of the poor quality of its own products, not because of any pricing strategies.
  • Mercury publicly stating its financial health to Wall Street while at the same time telling the U.S. Government “the sky is falling and the Japanese engine manufacturers are putting you out of business.”
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