I've considered that Doc, but it doesn't seem to be an adequate explanation. The outboard manufacturers are also transnational corporations that engage in mass production and sell into an international market. I think it has to do with the nature of the consumers buying marine products. They are buying what for most is a luxury item. In his book about GM, John Delorean said that it cost GM only about $300 more to build a Cadillac than to build a Chevy. Obviously, three hundred dollars represented a far larger percentage of a car's cost then than it does today but it does suggest that it wasn't manufacturing cost that was the basis for the premium GM and other car makers were able to get in the luxury car market. I think we are seeing something similar in the outboard motor market.
I do not think there is a big manufacturer remaining that is not run by the bean counters except maybe the ones run by Elon Musk, and even he is gradually losing control.
If there was high profits in Evinrude outboards I do think they would still be in production unless there is something huge waiting to be revealed.
At $18,000 the 189 HP Mazda cost $95.23 per HP. I never said it made sense just that it's been the running average.
It has always been my understanding the EPA helped kill the original OMC due to 100 years of polluting casting operations but that didn't follow Evinrude to BRP so none of it seems to make sense to me.
I paid 18k for my Mazda 6 with a 189hp. It weighs about 3,300 lb. and has something like 30000 parts. An outboard with the same horsepower costs about the same and weighs at least 2,800lb less. It is hard for me to make a case for the motor and car costing the same. The material, labor and transportation costs all figure to be far higher for the car. I suspected that the outboard motor manufacturers were enjoying high profit margins. That is what lead me to look at Yahmaha's earnings. The fact that the marine division generated only a quarter of the revenues but fifty percent of the profits seemed to confirm that the margins are high on the outboards. That is why I was surprised Evinrude was in trouble.
For many years the general rule of thumb for outboards and performance cars was $100.00 per HP. They have both gained on that number somewhat but not separated statistically by very much. HP in performance cars has gotten easier to make and cheaper but four stroke outboards are a good bit more involved to produce and more expensive.
I would bet the death of the two stroke outboard is going to send prices for four strokes up fast once the cheaper to build two strokes are gone.
I bought a new 50 HP Johnson in 1998, it was $4800 or $96 per HP, I bought a new Mustang Cobra in 2004, it was a bargain at $36,000, with 390 HP that comes to $92.30 per HP.