for 115-horsepower (hp) 4-stroke engines has resulted in a shortage
of that particular engine and has marine engine builders cautiously
watching inventory supplies and delivery capabilities.
a fact that that model [115-hp] in particular is in short supply
globally," said Tom Mielke, corporate communications director for
Mercury Marine, in a 10 October interview with BIIOnline. Yamaha
supplies Mercury with 115 4-strokes.
"We're shipping more
115s than ever before," said Ben Speciale, general manager of
operations and planning for Yamaha in an interview with BIIOnline on
Wednesday, 9 September. "There's a lot of demand for 115 4-strokes
Barry Zoll, OEM sales manager for Honda
Marine, in an interview with BIIOnline on 16 October, also agreed
that heavy demand has left low inventories of the 115-hp 4-stroke
"There may be some spot shortages of 115s now," said
Zoll. "We sold out of our 115s in early summer."
Vandiver, director of marketing for Suzuki, said in an 11 October
interview with BIIOnline that the first year the company introduced
its 115-hp 4-stroke, it wasn't prepared for the popularity, and it
caught the company a little off guard.
attributed its growth over the past year in part to sales of its
115-hp 4-stroke engines. (See BIIOnline article Suzuki attributes growth to 4-stroke
Delivery and distribution
To maintain inventory levels as best they can,
the companies said they are constantly monitoring shipments,
delivery schedules, inventory supplies and dealer sales.
do have a formal forecasting system in place with our major accounts
where we try to take in to account their needs and our ability to
supply," said Mielke.
Additionally, Mielke noted that demand
was still exceeding his company's schedule, leading him to speculate
that it will be "a number of months" before supplies level off
Taking into account some holdups in deliveries
due to the recent West Coast longshoremen's strike, with Honda's new
plant online and responding to market demands, Zoll reported that in
4-6 weeks his company's supply of 115-hp 4-stroke engines "will be
"Inventory and production is something we study every
day," said Vandiver, noting that Suzuki recently invested a lot of
money in a new computer monitoring system. "Shortages have not
existed for us, we do maintain and watch very closely dealer
inventory and turnover to make sure inventory levels are remaining
correct. We're not over-inventoried, we're not
Meanwhile, Yamaha is developing a new
supply chain management computer system expected to be launched in
spring 2003, which it said will help the company better respond to
changes in consumer demand. (See BIIOnline article Yamaha invests over US$20 million in computer
Incentives for alternatives
fill in the gaps where shortages exist, some engine manufacturers
are offering alternative engine packages for boats.
for example, is offering its 115- and 125-hp 2-strokes and the 135
Optimax in place of the 115 4-stroke, along with other incentives,
according to Mielke.
Phil Keeter, president of the Marine Manufacturer's
Association of America (MRAA), downplayed the impact of shortage
in the coming months in an interview with BIIOnline on 11
"That side of the industry is down," said Keeter.
"Add the fall when sales are down anyway and the economy, demand is
down. Come the boat shows in January, we may hear something
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