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