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Author Topic:   Mercury vs Tohatsu 30-HP EFI Four-stroke
bikingart posted 11-29-2006 01:37 PM ET (US)   Profile for bikingart   Send Email to bikingart  
I have been looking around for an off-season deal on a 30-HP outboard motor with low-emission for my reconditioned 1988 SS 13, and two that make the best sense at 182-lbs--near the upper limit of what I wish to haveon the stern--with tilt and trim are the Mercury 30-HP EFI four-stroke and the identical Tohatsu 30-HP EFI four-stroke. I will be removing a 1988 OMC 40-HP that weighs 219 lbs.

The Mercury 30-HP EFI four-stroke and the Tohatsu 30-HP EFI four-stroke are now made side by side in a factory in Japan and appear to be identical accept for the stickers. The location and quality of the dealers are pretty much equal here, but the out-the-door price is $400 to $900 more for the Mercury over the Tohatsu with the same items, installed. I wonder if I would recover the price difference at resale time with a better known name. I don't care what the name is on the side, but I am a long term Mercury owner and would have to learn to pronounce this new fangled name, Tohatsu. Thanks--Art

jimh posted 11-29-2006 08:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Underlying your assumption that spending $900 more to buy the Mercury-branded version of this engine will have a payback on resale is the notion that in the future an engine with the Mercury brand may be worth more than an engine with the Tohatsu brand. That conclusion may be speculative.
sosmerc posted 11-30-2006 12:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
Not trying to sway you one way or the other, but it might be interesting to see which engine is the easiest to locate parts for. (and how the price of these identical parts compare).
Here's something to try. Get the serial number from a 30hp Mercury on display at your dealer. Enter that number into Merc's Parts Express website and then look up a service item, say a water pump impeller. The list price will be listed alongside the item.
Then, get a similar Tohatsu model and serial number and go to Tohatsu's website and look up the part number and compare the price.
Which engine was easiest to find the correct part number and price?
bikingart posted 11-30-2006 07:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for bikingart  Send Email to bikingart     
Checking parts prices is a good idea, if I can just see some motors. The dealers around here aren't carrying much inventory these days. A check of NADA used values on comparable 2000 models showed the Mercury engines with a somewhat higher resale. Name recognition plays an interesting role in the market.
goldstem posted 11-30-2006 10:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for goldstem  Send Email to goldstem     
given the actual cost of the motor, it is hard to imagine how you would ever regain a $900 dollar difference at resale time.

please keep us posted, I am very interested in that motor as well for my 13.

sosmerc posted 11-30-2006 11:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
I recently sold a new Merc 25 EFI FourStroke and my customer really likes it.
One thing I noted that may be of interest to some of you, and that is the lower unit IS a Mercury lower unit...not a Tohatsu. The Mercury lower unit is a very proven design that has been around for some time (since about 1981 when it was introduced on the then new 18 and 25hp models).
sosmerc posted 11-30-2006 11:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
Sorry, but I mis-spoke above. I just went into Merc's Parts Express sight to confirm my statement about the lower units...and I was wrong. It appears that the 25/30hp EFI gearcase is NOT the Mercury lower least not the 18,20,25 2 stroke lower unit. It has a similar "swept" design, but the internal design is different...and it is most likely a Tohatsu gearcase.
I am disappointed that Mercury does not offer a "service manual" for this engine...I guess they haven't completed the "translations" yet?!
jimh posted 11-30-2006 12:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I did notice that Tohatsu appears to have increased its marketing effort toward North American customers. A recent issue of one of my boating magazines has a full-page add from Tohatsu.

Also, this Mercury-Tohatsu partnership reminds me of the early days of the Mercury-Yamaha partnership. In both cases the engines were made in Japan and then marketed in North America with a domestic name brand. Then later the Japanese brand name became more prominent in the marketing, and ultimately in the case of Yamaha, may have surpassed Mercury in term of respect and recognition by consumers.

The Judge posted 12-01-2006 11:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for The Judge  Send Email to The Judge     
You will never recoup that kind of money in resale, o for thetohatsu. Yo can always paint it black and slap some merc decals on it for cheap. Actualy are'nt the new Tohatsus black with blue decals.....look sharp in magazines.
BlackMax posted 12-01-2006 12:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for BlackMax    
Since Mercury is 50% owner of the design and production of these engines, it appears all product is being painted Phantom Black, including the Nissan branded engines. Nice to have EFI on 25 and 30 hp versions. The facility can produce up to 200,000 engines a year. Very impressive volume, and it should be a real moneymaker for both Merc and Tohatsu.

This situation is not the same as the OMC/BRP-Suzuki deal.
In that case the engines were made in Japan and then marketed in North America with a domestic name brand, Johnson. Then later the Japanese brand name became more prominent in the marketing, and ultimately in the case of Johnson, may have surpassed BRP (Evinrude/Johnson) in terms of respect and recognition by consumers.

The Judge posted 12-01-2006 12:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for The Judge  Send Email to The Judge     
What about he 25 or 30 Suzuki EFI @ 205 lbs? Great engines and great resale(for me at least). Place down here has the 25 for $2800 or so.
jimh posted 12-01-2006 01:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Yes, these Japanese engine manufacturers do have a way of bootstrapping themselves into the North American outboard market using a domestic brand as the point of entry.

I do not think that OMC had a relationship with Suzuki. BRP took to selling re-worked Suzuki engines to "fill in the white space" in their engine line as they were bringing Johnson and Evinrude back from extinction following OMC mismanagement. Mercury did just about the same thing when it bought all of those thousands of 225-HP four-stroke motors from Yamaha while it was taking several years longer than anticipated to bring a 225-HP four-stroke of its own design (the Verado) to the market. In both cases it I believe the decision was made as a result of pressure from dealers to have some product to sell under the domestic brand name during a time when the domestic brand name manufacturer did not have a suitable outboard motor of their own.

Another difference is that Suzuki was already quite well established in North America when BRP started painting their engines white and re-selling them, at least more so than Tohatsu is at the moment. I base that on my observation of several big boat stores selling Suzuki motors, while I have yet to see my first brick and mortar store will a Tohatsu sign over the door.

But distinctly different in this Mercury-Tohatsu marriage is the (just announced above) completely co-equal partnership. I have never heard any details of the agreement before, and I am very curious where I can go to read more about it.

The Judge posted 12-01-2006 02:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for The Judge  Send Email to The Judge     
Sorry Jim but OMC used suzuki since late 90's. My 1999 Evinrude 70 4 stroke was a suzuki painted dark blue. It is in your cetacea page from our rendezvous(next to keg)
The Judge posted 12-01-2006 02:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for The Judge  Send Email to The Judge
jimh posted 12-01-2006 07:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If the re-selling of Suzuki was an OMC decision, then I see that BRP put it to rest. Bombardier really believes in the modern two-stroke outboard, and they severed the relationship with Suzuki and their four-stroke technology so that they (Bombardier) to could go to market with a clear message about their E-TEC and its low-emission/high-performance technology .

Suzuki is the diametric opposite of BRP. Suzuki was the first outboard manufacturer to go to an all-four-stroke line-up. Suzuki had no low-emission two-stroke technology of its own, so they really did not have much choice. They would have been forced to invent their own lo-emission two-stroke, or license the Orbital Combustion System. Since Mercury and Tohatsu were already licensees of Orbital and selling that technology, it made little sense for Suzuki to try to be the third man on the Orbital team. So Suzuki went four-stroke.

Bombardier, on the other hand, has their own unique low-emission two-stroke technology. They own it outright, no license fees like Mercury and Tohatsu have to pay to the inventor and owner of the technology (Orbital).

Now what I find really strange with this newly announced 50-50 deal with Tohatsu is the location of the manufacturing in Japan. The U.S. dollar just hit an all-time low against the Euro-dollar, and a twenty year low against the (lowly) British pound. This very weak dollar would seem to me to make manufacturing in the United States much more attractive. Japan likes to keep their currency tied to the dollar so that Japanese-manufactured products remain affordable in the United States, but this very weak dollar must be stretching that strategy to the limit.

If the dollar gets much weaker, manufacturing your outboard in Wisconsin may start to look like a good way to save money.

BlackMax posted 12-02-2006 04:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for BlackMax    
Just to keep the information here correct, Suzuki made 2-stroke engines, including 60 degree V-6 EFI's, until just recently. Honda was the first all 4-stroke manufacturer, by a long shot.

The Mercury Tohatsu JV 4-stroke engine manufacturing plant is not new news either. The first engines came out of the new facility as it went on line in Aug 2005 for the Mercury 2006 model year. The plant had been under construction and acknowledged by Mercury/Brunswick many times in the company financial reports. Typical of the Japanese, Tohatsu tends to be more quiet about it. It's about a 4 year old story, and not new news here to those in the industry. A Google search using the words "Mercury Tohatsu Joint Venture Japan" will bring up the Brunswick reports. This plant's new models are the reason Yamaha has the 25 and 30HP voids, since Mercury is no longer giving them the previous, now discontinued, powerheads of the predecessor models. Mercury and Tohatsu are keeping them for themselves. All testing reports so far indicate these are best in their class engines.
Tohatsu's TLDI 2-stroke engines are not made in this plant, and do not have Mercury involvement, other than sharing of the Orbital technology.

elaelap posted 12-02-2006 01:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for elaelap  Send Email to elaelap     
I think the following great song from the 'sixties has some relevance to this discussion--though of course it concerns itself with somewhat more important themes than outboard motor manufacturers, themes which resound with meaning in today's world ;-)

"All Mixed Up" [Peter, Paul & Mary, and Pete Seeger]
(From the album "FLOWERS AND STONES")

You know this language that we speak,
is part german , latin and part greek
Celtic and arabic all in a heap,
well amended by the people in the street
The Choctaw gave us the word ";okay";;
";vamose"; is a word from Mexico way.
And all of this is a hint I suspect of what comes next.

I think that this whole world
Soon mama my whole wide world
Soon mama my whole world
Soon gonna be get mixed up.
Soon mama my whole world
Soon mama my whole wide world
Soon mama my whole world
Soon gonna be get mixed up.

I like Polish sausage, I like Spanish rice,
and pizza pie is also nice
Corn and beans from the Indians here
washed down by German beer
Marco Polo traveled by camel and pony,
he brought to Italy, the first macaroni
And you and I as well we're able,
we put it all on the table


There were no red-headed Irishmen
before the Vikings landed in Ireland
How many Romans had dark curly hair
before they brought slaves from Africa?
No race of man is completely pure,
nor is anyone's mind, that's for sure
The winds mix the dust of every land,
and so will woman and man.


This doesn't mean we will all be the same,
We'll have different faces and different names
Long live many different kinds of races
It's a difference of opinion that makes horse races
Just remember the rule about rules, brother
What could be right for one could be wrong for the other
And take a tip from La Belle France: ";Viva la difference!";


Oh yeah...Vive la difference, but mix it up and learn to love one another!


jimh posted 12-02-2006 07:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I suppose you could say that Honda was first with an all-four-stroke line up, because they never made two-strokes. But Suzuki was the first to switch from being a two-stroke manufacturer to an all four-stroke line, and, come to think of it, they may be the only manufacturer to go down that path. The rest (which would be Mercury, Bombardier, Yamaha, and Tohatsu) still make two-stroke outboards.

Suzuki was also the first with an all fuel-injected four-stroke line. For several years they were really out in front of everyone in that regard. And Suzuki set the whole outboard industry on its ear when they came out with the six year warranty. It forced everyone to offer similar deals.

The distinction to make with the Bombardier-Suzuki alliance as distinct from the Mercury-Tohatsu alliance is that it was a temporary phase for Bombardier. They moved forward and are no longer re-painting cowlings on engines made by someone else.

Back to Tohatsu versus Mercury, I'd take the $900 savings and get the Tohatsu. That is some partnership that Mercury cooked up--their own partner is now underselling them in their own backyard. I wonder who was the wizard that negotiated that deal? Is he getting a Christmas bonus from Brunswick this year? It will be hard for Mercury to complain to the USITC about this imported engine from Japan being sold for less than fair value.

BlackMax posted 12-03-2006 11:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for BlackMax    
Nobody has an all EFI 4-stroke line, especially not Suzuki, where EFI ends way up at the 40HP level.

Mercury has the largest selection of EFI 4-strokes, beginning down at 25HP. The Merc 30 HP EFI was introduced in 2003, 4 models years ago. Even today, Suzuki has no 30 HP EFI model.

jimh posted 12-04-2006 09:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Excellent information. Mercury has had an historical preference for and led the industry in the use of electronic fuel injection on outboard motors.
sosmerc posted 12-04-2006 11:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
Yup, the first production EFI showed up on the Merc 220 Laser in 1986.
And, if you look closely at the earliest Merc V-6 blocks of 1976 vintage, you can see bosses on the block near the transfer ports....this was where the fuel injectors "were" going to go. Merc was experimenting with fuel injection long before 1986. So yes, Merc has been a leader with regards to fuel injection AND direct injection.
cyclops posted 12-05-2006 10:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for cyclops  Send Email to cyclops     
Looks like BRP is still selling rebadged Suzuki's, just not in the USA.

jimh posted 12-07-2006 01:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It is not very clear where Johnson-branded four-stroke motors (made by Suzuki) are being sold. If you follow the links in the website you've pointed to, they have a disclaimer:

"Note: This model may not be available in your country. Please check with your local Johnson dealer."

The overseas marketing often gets a bit blurry.

Mercury has danced with Yamaha, and now seems to be waltzing with Tohatsu. Evinrude brought Suzuki to the dance, and Bombardier seems to have left her sitting.

If this Tohatsu motor was made in Wisconsin, there'd be no second thought--get the Mercury branded version. But since the motor is made in Japan, it is not at all clear to me why putting a decal on the cowling that says Mercury is going to add $900 of value to the product. A Japanese-made motor with a Japanese name is not a problem these days in North America. In fact, putting the Japanese name on the cowling might add more value!

Think back to the early days of Japanese automobiles. Nissan brought their cars to North America with the brand name Datsun, which sounded more like a German brand than a Japanese one. In fact, in Detroit there was a great joke about that. Here it is:

Nissan had a new compact car to export to North America, but they were worried about the model name. The looked around to see who was the most successful foreign exporter into America, and they found the answer: Volkswagen. Based on this, they hired a consultant from Germany to get advice on the model name for their car.

The German consultant came to Japan for a big meeting with all the Nissan executives. They proudly showed him their new car, code name B210.

"Zis is a very fine car," Klaus told his audience. "Give me und idea of vhen you are going to introduce zit in North America,"

The senior Japanese executive spoke softly in Japanese. The translator repeated in English: "We hope to introduce the car in one month."

"Dat zoon?" exclaimed Klaus.

Well, it used to get a good laugh. Of course, now Toyota is outselling Chrysler and Ford in the United States. And Nissan changed back to Nissan. Paying a premium for a domestic brand name is a thing of the past.

The Judge posted 12-07-2006 09:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for The Judge  Send Email to The Judge     
Suzuki also starts at 25hp for EFI.

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