There aren’t many things that say luxury quite like yachts. This decadent pastime is one of the hallmarks of the international elite. And now this most luxury of markets is opening up to some very different brand names. The car companies are hitting the water! And Mercedes-Benz has partnered with a brand new marine company, Silver Arrows, to create something completely new. The Arrow460-Granturismo. We decided the S-Class of the sea was missing. So instead of going on big sizes, which is sometimes easier to design or even nicer for the designer to make it, we decided to enter into the range of the 46 footer. The real challenge for Mercedes was to learn about what is a boat. The ergonomics to live onboard are completely different from a car. And on the other side, the challenge they gave to us is that once they have designed the first package – in terms of the style you can see outside, but also this nice loft layout we have inside – is how to create a boat that is open and closed at the same time.
We had to do a lot of research and development, which has been the last 4 years now, to make sure we were arriving at the aim that both of us had. Mercedes Benz decided to make a boat to emphasize and also to strengthen the message we want to bring across with our cars. It’s important to not stay static but to go into completely new directions. Luxury has been our driving force in the whole process of developing this project. Mainly on how we choose materials. The luxury comes also from Mercedes because they have introduced to us a new level of supplier, which was not known in our market. you can see in the wood all around the interior, you can see in this net fabric. Then you have all leather finishing with very custom made items.
The new luxury is one of the ideas to have a kind of seamless experience. You can see already that we did a lot of connections to bring these two things together. We had to find something that could be combined with performance on the sea. But where performance should not be the speed but should be comfort. But what about the competition from the other luxury car companies? Lexus has created a concept boat – although not for sale. Aston Martin has teamed up with Quintessence Yachts to produce the British built, 50 knot AM37. Bugatti’s Niniette 66 – produced by Palmer Johnson – is a 66-foot version of their Chiron supercar, and now there’s even a Porsche inspired superyacht built by Dynamiq. Well, at least I think everybody is trying to create a whole world for their customers. If you ask me what maybe we are doing differently, it is much more the interpretation of our design and bringing it into the form of a boat. Just having a simple graphic of a car and putting it onto a boat – that wouldn’t be our style. But is this just an expensive PR exercise or is there really a market for luxury car brands on the sea? Having a car company behind means that you have a big network. So it can mean new markets like China, The Middle East, Brazil, India. So there are a lot of new markets to explore where the normal competition is there but is not there with massive volume. People appreciate the boat even if they are not buying or interested. It is something you can always look at because it gives the feeling of freedom.