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Author Topic:   Mercury 200/225 HP 4-strokes
Whaletosh posted 04-26-2002 03:37 PM ET (US)   Profile for Whaletosh  
Looks like Mercury will be buying their [200 and 225 HP 4-stroke outboard engines] from Yamaha. It appears that they have shelved plans to develop a 250-HP 4-stroke.
jimh posted 04-27-2002 07:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It would be more interesting to have some sort of citation for this news. What you say seems to be the exact opposite of what the CEO of Brunswick just told the owners of the company. Quoting from a recent press release, Buckley said: "We are also progressing with the rollout of our new high-horsepower, four-stroke outboard engines."

More of the text of the press release appears below.


Marine Engine Segment

The Marine Engine segment, consisting of the Mercury Marine Group, reported sales of $370.4 million in the first quarter of 2002, compared with $413.7 million in the year-ago quarter. Operating earnings in the quarter declined to $24.7 million versus $49.3 million a year ago. Operating margins were 6.7 percent compared with 11.9 percent in the first quarter of 2001.

The company said Marine Engine segment sales were down versus the year-ago quarter when Mercury was benefiting from a competitor's bankruptcy by signing up new dealers and distributors and picking up market share in outboard engines. Margins were also affected by production slowdowns to keep inventories at appropriate levels.

"While continuing to manage the business in light of current market conditions, Mercury took several steps during the quarter to establish a foundation for future growth. We recently announced the formation of a 50/50 joint venture with Cummins Marine to supply integrated diesel propulsion systems to the worldwide recreational and commercial marine markets. With the added benefit of Mercury's patented SmartCraft(R) technology, Cummins MerCruiser Diesel will offer completely integrated vessel propulsion, power generation, control and information systems. Along with the acquisition of U.K.-based Teignbridge Propellers Ltd., a leading manufacturer of high-quality standard and custom propellers, Mercury is able to offer its customers integrated systems from helm to prop," Buckley noted.

"We are also progressing with the rollout of our new high-horsepower, four-stroke outboard engines. This new family of SmartCraft compatible engines represents a completely new design using proprietary Mercury technology. We believe they will represent the best in class in reliability, sound, vibration, weight and performance. We will begin extensive field testing in the fall to assure that these are the most robust and reliable engines available in the marketplace," Buckley said.

jimh posted 04-27-2002 08:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[Administrative post]
Ventura16 posted 04-27-2002 08:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for Ventura16  Send Email to Ventura16     
Quoting Jim Barron from the "Propulsion" column in the May 2002 issue of Trailer Boats: "Merc Strikes Deal with Yamaha - Finally, I have been speculating here for months on the arrival of a big four-stroke from Mercury. I now have it on good authority that Mercury has inked a deal with Yamaha to build it's four-stroke V-6. The Mercs will be black, with both 200 and 250 hp iterations. I have been told that Mercury's 250 hp four-stroke outboard has been put on a back burner".
lhg posted 05-02-2002 07:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
From what I have read, the information from "whaletosh" is partially correct, and partially incorrect.

Mercury will be bringing out a brand new line of light & fast, high torque 4-strokes in 2003, known currently as "Project X", which will be 100% Mercury engines. There will be six models, 135, 150, 175, 200, 225 & 250 HP.
They say these will have the same performance curves of the EFI 2-strokes. This project has not been abandoned at all, and is about to undergo summer testing for 2003 release. There are rumors that some of these are going to be in-line 4's!

But as a stop-gap, until their own engines are available, they have evidently made a 4000 quantity engine deal with Yamaha in Japan, which will provide the Yamaha 200/225 4-stroke powerhead under Mercury cowlings & lower units. Some of these engines are undoubtedly going to show up on new Whalers. The article in "Soundings" also indicates that the US division of Yamaha was absolutely furious that Mercury bypassed them in doing this deal in Japan. Evidently, Yamaha dealers are not happy with the proposed deal, seeing Mercury dealers come up with some of their hard to get engine supply.

I've got to say, it seems strange that Yamaha would agree to this, which can only take sales away from Yamaha outboard dealers. Maybe home office in Japan doesn't really care about the US dealers, and looks at it as simply selling more blocks. Or more likely, maybe Yamaha will get some of Merc's new higher tech mid range engines in exchange. The 130-175 HP 4-stroke hole seems to exist for them also.

Mercury and Yamaha have been pretty close for a long time, including the current 75-115 4-strokes, and prior 30-60HP 4-strokes, and this co-operation seems to be having one effect - almost complete dominance of the outboard market between the two of them, approximately 80%! All of this could be pretty clever, behind the scenes legal monopolizing, leaving Honda, Suzuki, Tohatsu and Bombardier lost in the dust, sharing the remaining 20% at best.

With all this new interest in lightweight 4-strokes, more and more the 2-stroke DFI technology seems to be heading towards a dead end. Currently, Opti & HPDI DFI's are still only 10% of total outboard sales, while 4-strokes have hit 20%. Bombardier claims they are currently #3 in engine sales, ahead of the other 3 Japanese manufacturers (which is quite amazing), and that they will get 33% of the market, but with this Mercury/Yamaha juggernaut, one has to doubt that projection.

PMUCCIOLO posted 05-02-2002 11:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    

When evaluating total outboard sales, is the percentage discrepancy between the DFI and 4-stroke engines you report a function of the limited HP ranges for which the DFI's are available? In other words with the 4-stroke engines available from about 4HP to 225HP, and the DFI's available from about 50HP (Tohatsu/Nissan) to 225HP (Mercury), it would seem logical that the DFI's would account for a smaller percentage of total outboard sales.

I don't know if two-stroke DFI's being described as a "dead end" is a logical conclusion based on the aforementioned interpretation of the data you presented. It is true that 4-strokes are becoming lighter, but I find it hard to believe that DFI's will be out of the running any time soon. The DFI's are still less expensive, require less service (no valvetrain), and are lighter than comparable 4-stroke engines.
Although EFI is closing the gap in acceleration figures between 4-stroke and DFI engines, a difference still exists. I don't have the objective data on hand, but perhaps I can dig it up.

Also, Yamaha is supposedly coming out with a 250HPDI engine. (I can only imagine how much that will cost!)


Whaletosh posted 05-03-2002 08:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    

I hope you predictions are true. Personaly I would rather have an EFI 4-stroke than DFI 2-stroke. I wish there was a smaller Mercury 75 HP 4-stroke. There aren't any boats that I would by that would justify that motor. It is far too heavy for 15 Sport or Dauntless 14. And for a Montauk one might as well use the 90 4-stroke. The Dauntless 16 would be underpowered. The current 60/50 4-stroke block is probably at it's limit for reliable operation. So this leaves a "practical" hole in Mercury's line of 4-stroke motors. Yamaha has the F80 and Suzuki has the 70 4-stroke. Want to bet the pending 15' whaler is working on will have a 60 HP limit? Want to bet the EFI 4-stroke will be the package motor?

As far as valve maintence goes it isn't needed. Don't misunderstand, all of the current 4-strokes need periodic valve lash adjustment. But, engine makers can make engines with self adjusting valves. Honda did this on several of their motorcycles. There is a small HP price to accomplish this. Truth is that you can do it yourself with a few tools and it takes a couple of hours. Granted it isn't needed on 2-strokes, but I wouldn't consider it a major reason to forgo a 4-stroke.


PMUCCIOLO posted 05-03-2002 11:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    

Sean, your point is well taken. I concur that maintenance isn't a "major" reason to opt for 2-stroke over 4-stroke power. However, for those of us (I'm probably in the minority here!) who posess limited mechanical skills and knowledge, the cost of the scheduled services for the two types of engines vary markedly.

When powering a boat, I look at the entire picture: the purchase price, the estimated annual use, the fuel (and oil) economy, the longevity, and the cost and frequency of maintenance. The percentage of the total cost to which each of these factors contribute will vary from person to person, depending upon his intended application. The cost of maintenance, in this context, may not be insignificant for some owners.


lhg posted 05-03-2002 12:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Paul - those figures on DFI and 4-stroke percentages of 2001 engine sales are from an article in "Sounding Trade Only". But I would agree, the 4-stroke engines are primarily smaller motors, and the DFI mostly 135HP and up. So the dollar volume of these sales is probably about the same. OMC was Ficht was down & out that year, so almost all of the DFI's would have been Mercury and Yamaha. The 20% total market share of 4 strokes would have been divided between 100% of Honda's motors, Suzuki, Yamaha and Mercury. A reasonable guess would be that they each had about 5% of total market share.

In 2001, it appears the conventional 2-strokes, carb & EFI, still held about 70% of the market, all brands being included.

It will be interesting to see how 2002 shapes up. The word is that 4-strokes are gaining ground, probably at the expense of conventional engines. This winter season in south FL, the largest US market for high HP outboards, Merc Opti's & EFI's are everywhere. Also have seen a surprisingly large number of Yamaha 115 & 225 EFI 4-strokes. They must really be cranking those off the assembly lines.

Sean, I would agree that the Merc/Yamaha carbed 4-strokes in the 75/80 HP size are a bit large & heavy, probably limiting their sales potential. Suzuki seems to have the best offering in that size. I would guess Mercury, at least, will be working to design their own lighter EFI engines in the 75-115 category, but probably not for a few more years. This Project X group of engines needs to be introduced first. But maybe they'll add the EFI system to them.

Bugsy Malone posted 05-03-2002 12:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bugsy Malone  Send Email to Bugsy Malone

This says to me, mind you just a guess, that if the big 4's are still in testing this Fall you might not see any significant inventory until Spring 2003. Then again maybe not even then, just have to wait and see.

PMUCCIOLO posted 05-03-2002 01:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for PMUCCIOLO    
An (appreciative) aside:

For other participants in this forum who have read this thread: This is the most civilized, interesting, and practical discussion in which I have engaged while visiting the Classic Whaler Website.

It is a PLEASURE to correspond with the others in response to Whaletosh's intial post. I thorougly enjoy exchanging information in this fashion.

Now let's all get ready with the comments and suggestions, as I am about a week from placing the CPD order you've been wondering about! (FINALLY, you sigh!)


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