Wa­ter­front

Lexus teams up with the Mar­quis-Lar­son Ma­rine Group on a first-of-its-kind pro­duc­tion cross­over.

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE - —Daniel Hard­ing Jr.

Lexus has teamed up with Mar­quis-Lar­son Ma­rine Group with big plans to dis­rupt the yacht in­dus­try.

Auto builders dip­ping a toe in the yacht in­dus­try is noth­ing new; it’s some­thing we’ve seen for decades. But rarely have we seen an auto man­u­fac­turer dive head­first into this space quite like Lexus has.

Build­ing off the wide­spread in­ter­est gar­nered by the brand’s 42-foot Lexus Sport Yacht that launched last year, the Toy­ota-owned au­to­mo­bile jug­ger­naut is once again pair­ing its de­sign and styling ex­per­tise with the Mar­quis-Lar­son Ma­rine Group’s boatbuilding knowl­edge in build­ing the Lexus LY 650.

Those fa­mil­iar with Mar­quis-Lar­son’s Carver and Mar­quis brands may know that the Mar­quis lineup has been fairly dor­mant for some time and may won­der if the LY 650 is a re­warmed ver­sion. One look through the ren­der­ings of the LY 650 and it’s clear that couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth. This is an en­tirely new brand of yacht to fall un­der the builder’s wide-span­ning um­brella.

This isn’t the Toy­ota com­pany’s first foray into the yacht in­dus­try, far from it; the com­pany has an en­tire ma­rine divi­sion ded­i­cated to build­ing Ponam boats for the Ja­panese mar­ket.

“This pro­ject started with a Lexus de­sign in Toy­ota City and then it came to us to make it build­able. They used our mar­ket knowl­edge be­cause Lexus styling wouldn’t have in­cluded things like a bowrail; [they] wouldn’t have con­sid­ered a cleat,” ex­plained Matthew Vet­zner, vice pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing for Mar­quis-Lar­son. “It’s been a very com­ple­men­tary re­la­tion­ship from their de­sign to our knowl­edge of the ma­rine busi­ness. There will be no Mar­quis or Carver moniker any­where on the boat.”

Ac­cord­ing to Vetnzer, the Lexus de­sign team has en­trusted the Pu­laski, Wis­con­sin builder with de­ci­sions per­tain­ing to the func­tion­al­ity and safety of the boat as well as sales and ser­vice, while at the same time, man­dated their styling lan­guage be hon­ored.

“We need to make sure we stay true to the things Lexus stands for in terms of per­for­mance and tech­nol­ogy,” says Vet­zner. “There’s a say­ing in Ja­panese that they use of­ten that means ‘my house is your house.’ That af­fects how we han­dle hos­pi­tal­ity in the boat.”

The styling of the LY 650 is dra­matic to say the least. While the ex­te­rior is sporty and sleek, the in­te­rior looks ex­tremely mod­ern, with curved edges and shapes ev­ery­where you look. Early ren­der­ings in­di­cate that one of the only 90-de­gree an­gles in the sa­lon is the cor­ners of the tele­vi­sion.

Power for the three-state­room, 65-footer is slated to be twin Volvo Penta IPS 1200s with IPS 1350s avail­able as an op­tion. The boat is ex­pected to make its of­fi­cial U.S. de­but at the 2019 Ft. Laud­erdale In­ter­na­tional Boat Show af­ter a gru­el­ing test­ing phase at the hands of the Lexus de­sign­ers. “With their cars, they drive them some­thing like 700,000 miles be­fore it’s in­tro­duced,” says Vet­zner. “Their test­ing will be thor­ough.”

Un­til then, the team at Mar­quis-Lar­son is con­fi­dent that the part­ner­ship with Lexus will have a trickle-down ef­fect on their Carver and Mar­quis brands. This al­ready ap­pears to be the case with a new Mar­quis 42 that’s on the draw­ing board.

“Toy­ota was one of the first Ja­panese com­pa­nies to come to Amer­ica and they [forced Amer­i­can auto builders] to step up their qual­ity,” says Vet­zner. “That car­ries a halo ef­fect into what we’re look­ing to do with the Carver and Mar­quis brands.”

Count­less car man­u­fac­tur­ers have tried to en­ter the yacht mar­ket only to have their grand plans sink be­fore a sin­gle boat was launched. But then again, few have had as firm a foun­da­tion as it ap­pears Lexus and the Mar­quis-Lar­son group do. They’re off to a promis­ing start.

Look care­fully at both the ex­te­rior and in­te­rior lines of the LY 650. No­tice any­thing miss­ing? That’s right, there’s hardly a hard edge or an­gle to be found. It’s this kind of mod­ern styling that the brand hopes to build off.

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