Vehicle Technology

Brunswick’s Next Wave Brings Innovation and Inspiration on the Water

Overview CES® 2022 exhibitor Brunswick has been redefining the marine industry with cutting-edge technology. Hear from Brunswick CEO Dave Foulkes about the future of marine electrification, diversity in the industry and more.

At CES® 2020, recreational boating company Brunswick Corporation caught attention with the premier of the Sea Ray SLX-R 400e, with more than 90,000 photos and videos taken of the boat. The display was also a demonstration of the company’s commitment to using technology to enhance the consumer experience.

Brunswick is set to return to CES 2022, showing how technologies can meet the evolving needs of boating.

Dave Foulkes, CEO of Brunswick, shared more about how the boating industry has grown in the past year, Brunswick’s Next Wave strategy and what the company is set to unveil at CES 2022.

How has the boating industry changed and evolved in 2020 as a result of the global pandemic, and how will this continue to influence the future of the industry?

We have seen very strong growth across our entire business over the past 15 months.
The pandemic spurred participation in outdoor activities as people around the world sought new ways to entertain themselves while socially distancing. Some trends resulting from the pandemic, particularly more flexible working arrangements and migration to the suburbs — and generally closer to water — have also been very positive for boating participation and are expected to extend well beyond the pandemic.

As a result of the high demand for boats, we saw sales growth of double digits in three straight quarters, and some of our brands are sold out through 2022 and into 2023, resulting in low levels of field inventory.

Additionally, Brunswick is outperforming the industry in attracting a new demographic to boating. We are attracting more first-time buyers than the industry overall. The average age of Brunswick boat buyers is two years younger than the average of our industry peers.

The average first-time boat buyer Brunswick attracted in 2020 was three years younger than that of our industry peers, with more women buyers. The success of our Freedom Boat Club in attracting more women into boating continues to be phenomenal; in 2020, more than 35% of Freedom members were women and that trend continues in 2021.

We are doing everything we can to attract a younger, more diverse demographic into boating that will secure our future, and to engage new boaters how and where they want to be met.

You recently unveiled the “Next Wave” of Brunswick’s strategy. What is the Next Wave and how will it continue to help Brunswick lead in the marine industry?

Our Next Wave strategy will include the next generation of our products, the next generation of our technologies, next generation ways to connect with our customers and our next generation of unique marine experiences.

The Next Wave builds on our unique foundation of scale, industry-leading brands and extensive capabilities in the marine industry, and it follows several years in which we established a new, marine-focused operating model and growth platform.

Brunswick’s Next Wave will be defined by distinctive new products and technology-enabled experiences that will accompany and accelerate the broadening consumer appeal of the marine lifestyle and unlock further, profound synergies across our enterprise.

We will continue to democratize and elevate the boating experience by investing to maintain an unassailable position of global product leadership, leading the industry in ACES (autonomous, connected, electrification, shared access), engaging new and current boaters with a portfolio of the most relevant accessible and premium brands and products, providing the industry’s leading shared-access experiences, engaging consumers with rich digital experiences, and leading the industry with new, consumer-centric, integrated technical and business solutions and sustainable practices. 

We are doing everything we can to attract a younger, more diverse demographic into boating that will secure our future, and to engage new boaters how and where they want to be met.

Dave Foulkes
CEO of Brunswick

How has the ACES strategy paved the way to create intuitive digital and connected experiences?

We believe that smart products live best within smart experiences, and this is the foundation of our ACES strategy. We introduced ACES in 2019 as a unifying framework for many of our initiatives. But it’s no longer a framework or a concept. In 2021, we will have more than 700 Brunswick employees working directly on the commercialization of ACES. And we are making rapid progress.

Later this year, we will launch our first true ADAS (Advanced driver-assistance systems) product, as well as many new connected products that will strengthen our leadership position in the marine industry, providing boaters with seamless and frictionless on- and off-water experiences.

As an example, we are augmenting our CZone onboard digital control platform with a new off-board CZone Mobile app experience that will deliver remote functionality and security but also dramatically enhance consumer engagement. The new CZONE Mobile platform is aimed at reducing friction across the entire ownership journey, from taking delivery and onboarding on day one, to spending time on the water, to servicing.

Our passion for consumer-led innovation, coupled with our unmatched brand and product portfolio, puts us in an outstanding position to deliver this kind of innovation.

Diving further into ACES, how is Brunswick uniquely positioned to have a transformational influence on marine electrification?

Though electrifying marine applications often presents more challenges than on-road applications, we believe that no company is better positioned to make a transformational impact on marine electrification than Brunswick, because of our suite of technologies, brands and businesses.
By 2023, Mercury and our Advanced Systems Group together will launch five electric propulsion products, with the first products launching at CES 2022. Over the same period, our Advanced Systems Group expects to have installed 15,000 advanced battery systems, replacing internal combustion engine generators. And Brunswick Boat Group will have launched electric boats in four different segments.

We also believe that Freedom Boat Club, with its centrally managed fleets and well understood use cases, is the ideal operating model to support the introduction of electric marine products, making us the owners of a unique marine electrification puzzle piece.

Our electrification efforts leverage the unmatched expertise, capabilities and systems know-how from across our enterprise, and we took tremendous advantage of our debut at CES in 2020 to launch our unique, new and comprehensive onboard electrical power management system, Fathom, on our Sea Ray SLX-R 400e boat.

Since then, we’ve continued to advance the capabilities of the Fathom system, and we are working on delivering an ecosystem of components that are intelligently controlled and more efficient, including new adjustable HVAC units, water heaters, grills and dimmable LED lighting.

Can you provide a sneak peek of what Brunswick will showcase at CES 2022 in Las Vegas?

CES 2022 will be an opportunity to bring together our ACES strategy with the next evolutions of our award-winning in-market products, such as our Sea Ray 370 Sundancer powered by 600hp V12 outboard engines — that will get everyone’s attention!

We will debut some electrification and connectivity products, in addition to some advanced autonomy and visualization concepts, all within a deeply immersive and engaging overall experience that will transport visitors from the convention center to richly simulated on-water environments.

Interested in exhibiting at CES 2022 alongside Brunswick? Contact the CES sales team to learn more about opportunities, including private meeting space.

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