Anyone who’s into outboard motors is quite familiar with the Seven Marine 557 and the Seven Marine 627, the largest outboard engines on the face of the planet. Based on a 6.2L supercharged V8 GM block designed for Cadillac, they have gobs more power than the next-closest production motors (Mercury’s Verado 400, Yamaha’s F350C, and the new Suzuki DF350A), they look utterly stellar, and they also cost an arm and a leg—$100,000 for a single outboard engine with all the bells and whistles is not unusual. And quite often, it’s pointed out that for significantly less than this much cash, you could buy, well, an entire Cadillac with the same basic engine under the hood.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, Seven Marine outboards have been thought of more as a boutique-style engine than as a production outboard. Which make it seem more than a little bit strange that Volvo Penta announced earlier this month that they have bought a controlling interest in Seven Marine.
“With this acquisition, Volvo Penta is entering the outboard motor segment,” says Volvo Penta president, Björn Ingemanson. “Together with Seven Marine, we are on a journey to expand the scope of supply with our customers and invest in the growth of a platform to shape the future of the outboard industry.”
Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Penta of the Americas, adds “This is an exciting step for Volvo Penta. 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.”
With over 3,500 dealers in 130 countries, Volvo can add something into the mix which Seven Marine was lacking: a strong network for both sales and service. Add to that Volvo’s experience with marinizing automotive engines and this marriage, which seems strange at first, starts to make a lot of sense. Seven Marine will remain a “stand alone” entity, and its product line and organizational structure are not expected to change in the immediate future. Seven Marine President Rick Davis will remain in his position.
Will we see more mainstream, lower cost Sevens down the road? Will Volvo use the platform to develop new and different outboard offerings? No one knows quite yet. But we can say one thing for sure: Volvo Penta now owns the majority stake in an outboard brand.