New engine technology, improving economy point to segment’s recovery
No segment of the marine industry absorbed a body blow as severe as what hit the sterndrive category in the last decade. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, annual sterndrive sales plunged more than 76 percent between 2004 and 2011, from 71,100 units down to 16,890 — a staggering drop that stressed engine manufacturers, boat builders, dealers and aftermarket companies alike. And, while sterndrives as a whole fell the furthest, compared with outboards, jet boats, PWC and inboards, they have also been the last segment to show signs of recovery.
What’s happened to the sterndrive market isn’t as simple as declining sales, though. During the same period, average unit costs have increased approximately $17,500 ($33,306 to $50,731) as a result of diverse factors including increased government regulations, added [...]