As part of its ongoing cost-cutting initiatives, Brunswick Corp. announced recently
that it is discontinuing its Maxum boat line, which it established in 1988. The
Maxum brand was created just two years after Brunswick bought Bayliner from its
founder, Orin Edson, for $470 million, the largest amount every paid for a recreational
boat company. From the beginning the Maxum line seemed to be searching for an identity
or a solid reason for being. For the most part, Maxum hulls were the same as those
of Bayliner, with different decks and interiors to differentiate the brand. It was
marketed as an up-scale version of a Bayliner which also cost more, but not as much
in many cases, as Sea Ray models with which it also competed in the Brunswick family.
The Maxum brand struggled
for years between the behemoths of Bayliner and Sea Ray in the Brunswick stable.
"This decision emerged from our continuing efforts to review every aspect of our
operations, including our brand portfolio, in an effort to position Brunswick to
emerge from this downturn a stronger company," Brunswick spokesman Dan Kubera said
in an e-mail sent
on August 11th to Soundings Trade Only, a boating industry trade magazine. "It was a difficult but necessary decision, driven and based on
economics," he added. Soundings Trade Only reports that Maxum will sell boats currently
in inventory, but will not produce any 2010 models. Dealers have been notified of
the decision, Kubera said.
According to the report, “Support will continue throughout the warranty period.”
"There will be no change to the type or level of warranty service, parts and support
provided to the Maxum dealers at this time," Kubera said. "We are offering the dealers
an opportunity to continue with the significant retail and wholesale incentives
that have been in place during this selling season to support the dealers' retail
Maxum did not have a dedicated manufacturing facility, so no changes in production
plans are anticipated as a result of this decision, Kubera said.
Maxum High Point
Perhaps the high point of the 21-year life of the Maxum brand was in the early 2000s
when the company introduced a boat at the Miami Boat Show that had a bow thruster
and twin stern thrusters. It was intended to be a boat that anyone could easily
dock, thus overcoming the difficulty that most beginners have in docking a single-engine
The revolutionary docking system anticipated by nearly a decade the joystick control
systems that are now offered on twin-engine stern drive and diesel installations.
The system was developed at the Mercury Marine “skunk works” in Fond du Lac which
was run by Fred Kiekhaefer, son of the Mercury Marine founder Carl Kiekhaefer. The
system was widely promoted by the boating press but due to its high price and lack
of promotion by Maxum, it was soon abandoned.
A 12-month snapshot of sales from Oct. 2005 to Sept. 2006, one of the last periods
of relatively high boat sales in the U.S., Maxum ranked 12th among sportboat/express
cruiser manufacturers for sales in the U.S. with 1,846 new boats registered. Maxums
were outsold by Cobalt (which ranked 11th), possibly the highest-priced sport boat
line on the market in the U.S. which sold 1,979 boats in the same period. Rinker,
which had about the same price point as Maxum, ranked 13th with 1,836 new boats
The Brunswick Corp. is the largest builder of recreational boats in the world. In
May 2008, Brunswick announced it would cease production of its Bluewater Marine
brands, including Sea Pro, Sea Boss, Palmetto and Laguna.