Toyota-Thon May 1997 issue of Boating Magazine


Boating Magazine
May 1997 Page 42
by David Seidman

What does Godzilla ski behind? Any one he wants to. But after September his tow rope will be tied to an American-built Toyota, as the company finally confirms that it will begin construction of a skiboat this summer. To get its feet wet, this mega-monster conglomerate is already offering - for the home islands only - an aluminum cruiser built in New Zealand called the Ponam -28 (from Maori word "waipounam," Meaning whale). Power will be supplied by Toyota's SEAN (Supreme Efficiency Advanced Nautical technology), giving us a marine mammoth with an attitude.

Here in the U.S., the company's approach to marketing seems as shaky as a Tokyo skyscraper in an earthquake. With the yen being trounced by the dollar, it might be cheaper to build the new skiboat in Japan, but Toyota intends to produce it here in the U.S. So don't expect a bargain. Why a skiboat is also a mystery. The market is already saturated with builders fighting for a shrinking slice of a small pie. Plus Toyota will be bucking the trend by offering its skiboat with a Lexus V-8 engine-based stern drive rather than a tournament -acceptable inboard.

Auto companies have tried their hand at boatbuilding before. Dodge did it in the '30's. Yamaha once sold a few sailbotes. And Porsche sank with the Deutchmark. Will Toyota succeed where others have failed? Stay tuned.

RBBI comments: Maybe they want to start with a limited exposure. Controlled startup vs. "big bang". Also due to their many connections around the world, they may have access to an inboard transmission. If they do go with the stern drive the boat and or drive may have the ability to change the wake and match or beat IB performance?

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