When describing their new E-TEC G2, Evinrude executives used words such as powerful, different, audacious, heroic and quality.
It appears — at least from the outset of the global unveil — that BRP lived up to those words with its latest engine. The E-TEC G2 is available in 200-300 horsepower, and the engine comes with an impressive list of improvements from the former E-TEC engine. However, what sticks out first is the striking stance — and color — of the engine, which has already begun production and is expected to be hitting dealership showrooms as boat show season launches.
The exoskeleton design of the G2 was inspired by the armor of superheroes such as Iron Man and Batman. BRP employees more than once called the look “bold.”
“What we realize with all of our products at BRP is the design can be shocking at first,” Jason Eckman, product marketing manager for BRP’s Marine Propulsion Systems, told Boating Industry. “If you’re going to change paradigms, people need to be uncomfortable a little bit, and we see this in many other industries as well. When you look back, this engine is going to make everything else look old. If a few years you’ll see other brands, and it’ll just seem old.”
The shape was a key part of the design. When BRP CEO José Boisjoli issued the mandate to change the outboard a few years ago, he asked that the engine be recognizable as an Evinrude from 100 yards away at dusk.
But the shape isn’t the only eye-catching feature on these engines. The E-TEC G2 is also the first outboard that comes with extensive customization options. Within a dealership or at ChooseYourETEC.com, consumers can choose their horsepower, side panel color, top panel color and swoosh color. BRP offers five side and top panel colors and 14 different swoosh graphics, with certain boat builders also offering colors unique to some of their boats’ color details. It’s a major feature that Eckman thinks customers will get excited about.
“I think that they’ll appreciate the ability to personalize the product to their own personality, and we see that in a lot of different industries now, whether it’s ordering custom tennis shoes, custom bicycles, right down to your phone. This is what people have come to expect from products, and an outboard engine shouldn’t be any different,” he said.
BRP confirmed Friday that it has collaborated with seven boat builders to create custom “hero” colors to match features of their boats.
But Evinrude went beyond an overhaul of the exterior of the engine; the company also dug deep into the inner workings of the engine, adding a number of improvements to the platform. Among some of the changes include an improved piston/cylinder design, a new Starboard-Starboard design that improves acceleration, a Dual Axis clean rigging system, an i-Trim automatic trimming system, a hydrodynamic SLX gear case which reduces steering effort, auto winterization, no oil changes, no break-in period and Dynamic Power Steering integrated directly into the midsection. With these updates, Evinrude reports that it provides 15 percent more fuel efficiency and 20 percent more torque versus competitive outboards and 75 percent fewer regulated emissions than competitive four-strokes.
Evinrude is so confident in its improvements that it’s offering customers a five-year engine warranty, five-year corrosion warranty and five-year/500-hour no dealer-scheduled maintenance. Though the first question about that plan was about how it will affect dealers’ service and F&I sales, Evinrude officials say the piece of mind that the warranty provides will draw customers to upgrade the engine, and the company is also offering dealers new options to make up any lost service dollars.
“We’re trying to give them other ways to make money and be profitable, and a lot of that is allowing them to sell extended warranties, or even the chance to upsell on the panels themselves, ways to make money that the consumers appreciate,” Eckman said.
The panels, which install using six quarter-turn screws, will be on display in dealerships’ showrooms, if they so choose, using POP display that allows customers to get a visual on the graphics using sample panels and magnetic swooshes. Evinrude dealers who carry boats from the builders who have partnered with BRP will also have the opportunity to highlight the engine and boat combination on their showroom floors.
Bennington is one of the boat builders working with BRP. The company showcased its Matador Red panels on one of its pontoons during demos on Lake Michigan.
“I think that the customer is going to like a couple of things on this,” Daniel Hahn, Bennington’s vice president of sales in Western North America, told Boating Industry Friday night. “I think they’re going to like the uniqueness in color availability; I think they’re going to like the shape; I think they’re going to like the five, five and five [warranty] because there’s no maintenance after that [purchase]; I think they’re going to like the winterization and storage component about it, and the most important thing, when I was driving it today, and I’d never in a million years thought this would work, but it did self trim. I didn’t touch it.”
Eckman said many boat builders have liked the custom panel option because it allows consumers to buy a matching boat and engine package without added effort.
“We realize that people don’t really shop anymore for a boat and an engine. They’re just looking for a boat, and it’s a package on a trailer, and so the best thing we can do is to make the boats better, so with the clean rigging, we’re giving them more space in the boat, and with the customizable design. This industry has been about brands having certain colors — Evinrude was blue; Johnson was white; Mercury is black; Yamaha’s grey. Customers don’t care about what color the engine is. They just want a nice looking boat,” he said.
A few dealers previewed the G2 before its global unveil, and Eckman said they were happy to see the eye-catching design, which should be a traffic generator for boat show booths and dealerships alike.
“When we think about the boat shows this year, the crowds are going to gather to learn more about it. Even if they’re a diehard fan of the competitors, they’re still going to have to come into our booth to see it,” he explained . “Probably these guys have been walking past the booth for years, not even thinking twice, but they’re going to come in, and they’re going to learn about E-TEC direct injection, and they’re going to get the rest of the story.”
To read BRP’s release about the E-TEC G2, click here.