Swedish marine engine and drive manufacturer Volvo Penta has acquired a controlling interest in outboard manufacturer Seven Marine, builder of the world’s two largest outboards, the Seven Marine 557 and the Seven Marine 627. The deal, which seemed to take the entire marine industry by surprise, was announced on July 6.
Seven Marine, based in the Milwaukee suburb of Germantown, Wis., was founded by former Mercury Marine Chief Technology Officer Rick Davis and his sons Eric and Brian. Seven debuted at the 2011 Miami International Boat Show with the prototype Seven 557, a 557-horsepower outboard powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged General Motors V8 engine. (See our first an most popular video of the original 557, in Seven Marine 557: In-Water Debut). The brand has since established itself at the highest end of the custom marine power market, with its latest outboard typically priced at more than $100,000.
Seven Marine will operate as a stand-alone entity retaining its brand, product line and organizational structure. Ron Huibers, Volvo Penta’s president of the Americas region, will be the chairman of Seven Marine and Rick Davis will remain as Seven Marine’s president and CEO.
“This is an exciting step for Volvo Penta,” said Huibers. “We are combining the strength of two highly innovative companies to deliver an unbeatable engine range for the gasoline segment. We will not only come to market with an extremely attractive outboard solution, but we will deliver the benefits of our world-class service network to a broader range of customers.”
According to Rick Davis, Seven will continue to operate its production facility in Germantown. Davis added that he and his sons have retained equity in Seven Marine.
“This has been in the works for some time,” said Davis. “I think Volvo Penta will be a great partner. It has the right approach to working with a smaller company like Seven and will keep us growing, so we can take the scale of this business to the next level.”
Davis told me that Volvo Penta will help expand the reach of Seven service and support, which, as the company has put more outboards in the field, has had to become an expansive, global operation.
In a media release Volvo Penta cites the common use of GM engines by Seven and Volvo. “The use of automotive technology is a common aspect between Volvo Penta’s gasoline sterndrive range and Seven Marine’s outboard motors. Seven Marine’s approach to exploring new techniques and design architecture is a key driver behind Volvo Penta’s decision to become majority owner in Seven Marine."
“The Seven Marine concept mirrors the successful strategy we have followed in pursuing automotive technology,” says Björn Ingemanson, president of Volvo Penta. “Just as we are a leader in diesel and gasoline engine technology, Seven Marine leads its market for state-of-the-art outboards. We have a shared vision for the future, and this deal provides an ideal platform for us to grow and adapt together. We will move forward in leading the development of world-class performance and sustainability for the most premium of outboard motor segments.”
After speaking with Rick Davis, I’m certain this deal is more than a simple acquisition by Volvo Penta. Davis says that Volvo is very excited about the outboard business, and I know Davis and his sons have big ideas they could not afford to bring to market. Imagine, for example, a Volvo diesel powerhead on an outboard. Just for starters.
For more information, visit Seven Marine and Volvo Penta.