A History Of Firsts And Foremosts

Success is not a coincidence

November 2017 Feature Colin Peterson

It’s no surprise that Mercury Marine is such a popular name in North American boating while it offers both inboard and outboard motors. The company has been producing world-class outboards and sterndrive engines for more than 75 years. Since starting as a small Wisconsin-based machine shop in 1939, Mercury has grown into one of the world’s largest builders of marine propulsion systems. Of course, they didn’t just “get there” out of nowhere. Their long history of constant improvement is what makes them stand out, as they’ve set and reset the standards for reliable and straightforward performance, top-notch power and torque, low emissions, and excellent fuel economy.

As Mercury is owned by Brunswick Corporation, you can count on your high standards being shared by all Brunswick-owned brands alike if you buy a Bayliner or Cypress Cay vessel, for instance. Thanks to Mercury, its dealer network has grown to include the largest full-service wholesale distributors who have served the marine industry for more than 30 years.

Mercury’s FourStroke outboards are game-changers, as they’re lighter, smaller, and at the same time tougher than any other four-stroke outboard. They provide a combination of power and efficiency that takes boating to a whole new level. Also take for example the Verado lineup and its reputation for low noise and vibration, fuel economy, supercharged power and torque, and many other strong points. That lineup puts performance on a whole new level that’s tough to match for other companies. To get a stronger idea of how Mercury has gotten to where they are today, we interviewed Facundo Onni, Mercury’s category director.

Intelligent Technology

“Mercury’s outboards have Intuitive design, extreme reliability, and exhilarating performance,” says Onni. “Mercury has a clear lead when it comes to prop-to-helm innovation, with technologies such as Joystick Piloting and Active Trim.”

These technologies provide you with uniquely outstanding control, handling, and ease of operation that you won’t achieve with any other outboard. With them, Mercury’s extensive warranty coverage also covers the controls on your boat. The Joystick offers full 360-degree control, genuinely moving the boat in any desired direction without the need to worry about wind or current. It makes docking and trailer loading much easier.

At the 2017 Miami International Boat Show, Mercury also introduced the new Skyhook Advanced Features on the Joystick for enhancement. Available for downloadable purchase from the Mercury GoFree store, this software provides Joystick-equipped vessels with even better positioning ability under certain circumstances. Available as part of the SmartCraft digital boat management package, the Joystick has amazing control; it’ll literally make a boating novice or intermediate feel more like an expert or seasoned pro. The Active Trim technology was introduced at last year’s Miami Boat Show, and it’s incredibly convenient. It’s a hands-free system available for four-stroke outboards (40hp and up) that continuously adjusts engine trim based on changes in boating conditions to maintain top-notch performance. As the boat accelerates, the engine will trim out; while it decelerates, the engine will trim in. It can be overridden at any time by using the manual trim controls. Mercury’s engine designs profoundly make for incredible product durability and deliver premium value across important customer characteristics in the areas of quality, intuitiveness, and user-friendliness. From a performance standpoint, lightweight engines are able to deliver amazing acceleration and speed with outstanding fuel economy.

Continuous Improvement

In recent years, Mercury has really stood out thanks to its Verado 350 and 115 Pro XS models, both of which have been huge hits in the market.

“The 350 extended our power range and cemented Verado’s reputation for refined yet powerful performance,” says Onni. “The 115 Pro XS built upon the standard set by its two-stroke predecessor and offers class-leading performance plus all the other benefits typically associated with four-stroke technology.”

Mercury has also expanded its color options to three different tints of white: pearl fusion, cold fusion, and warm fusion, all of which were introduced in 2016 for various Verado 300hp and 350hp configurations. This is excellent, as it allows boaters to choose a color scheme that best matches that of their boats.

The Verado outboards might get a lot of the attention, but Mercury really hits the sweet spot in the pontoon and deck boat segments with its 115hp and 150hp FourStroke outboards.

“Both offer a compelling combination of performance, reliability, and affordability that we believe holds broad appeal in pontoon and deck boat applications,” boasts Onni. “In recent years, we’ve noticed a strong up-tick in Verado sales into these segments as well, which we believe is indicative of a broader shift in consumer preferences toward higher horsepower, and in some instances multi-engine, configurations.”

The company’s 60hp and 90hp four-stroke outboards also remain admired options for pontoons.

100 Percent Mercury

Mercury is one of the few manufacturers that produces its own propellers for their outboards, and that gives them a huge competitive advantage.

“The ability for our propeller team to work alongside the other product teams results in propeller designs that enhance the performance of the full package Mercury can offer,” Onni explains. “Outside of enhancing the Mercury experience, the propeller team has been an innovation leader in the market from the introduction of the Performance Vent System (PVS), Flo-Torq II modular hubs, and the fuel-economy-focused Enertia ECO propeller.”

Today’s Enertia ECO propeller improves cruising fuel mileage by up to 10 percent without countering top speed or holeshot. It’s great for deck boats. For pontoons, the non-ECO Enertia propeller has a lead against traditional steel propellers for being faster, stronger, and peppier. Using Mercury’s exclusive PVS, these propellers are custom-tuned and vented to match the demands of your engine simply by changing the rpm range and the size of the exhaust hole. You’d be blown away by what that can achieve.

Looking Ahead

In an age of technology that’s advancing so quickly, Mercury is no different from that notion, and they’re adapting to their customers’ demands.

“One trend we’ve noticed is the desire for more power in the pontoon market,” indicates Onni. “This trend goes hand-in-hand with the strong growth we’ve seen at the premium end of the market for pontoons especially.”

Another significant trend in the industry is pontoons becoming more flexible to different lifestyles and activities; that’s very similar to the ever-changing flexibility of automobiles. Going forward, Mercury is striving to improve their products with these trends in mind. With their unique technology that makes driving a pontoon or deck boat easier than ever, they’ve already been doing that very well.

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