Mercedes-Benz unveiled its latest high-performance boat in collaboration with Cigarette Racing at the Miami International Boat Show on Thursday, a nautical tie-in that more carmakers are exploring to reach new audiences.
The 50-foot Marauder AMG is inspired by the Mercedes-AMG GT R high-performance sports coupe, which goes on sale this summer, and was created in collaboration with Mercedes Chief Design officer Gorden Wagener.
“Why are we doing stuff outside of cars?” Wagener asked. “Because in the end, we truly want to be a luxury brand, not just a car company. We see ourselves as a luxury label, and you have to design a world around that.”
The Marauder, which is priced at more than $1 million, makes up to 3,100 horsepower. The two-seat GT R coupe delivers 577 horsepower using Mercedes AMG’s 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine.
Other carmakers are turning to the sea to expand their visibility and reach.
Honda revealed a concept engine at the boat show on Thursday based on its upscale Acura label’s NSX supercar. Last month, Lexus debuted in Miami Beach, Fla., a 42-foot concept yacht that uses the twin V8 motors from the brand’s high-performance F badge. Lexus designers created the boat’s interior, which uses the same leather, wood, and glass detailing found in the cabin of certain Lexus models.
The Lexus Sport Yacht is part of an effort by Lexus, which launched in 1989 as Baby Boomers entered their peak earning years, to target a younger demographic. The brand’s marketing department settled on a demographic it calls “Experiential Masters,” a group of smartphone-wielding Millennials and Gen Xers who value creating experiences as much as, if not more than, buying luxury items.
The boat was “a nice way to bring the brand to life for an audience that might not pay attention to us,” said Brian Bolain, the brand’s manager of product marketing. “It speaks to people who are not car people.”