LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Yamaha executives are emphasizing a “multiple-year product push that goes hand-in-hand with a new way of developing and launching products.”
At this week's national dealer meeting, the first the OEM has hosted in five years, Yamaha:
- Revealed six new or updated 2014 models with more streetbikes to come in September;
- Said it will introduce a new SxS annually through the 2018 model year;
- Announced that Star Motorcycles will debut at least eight new cruisers by the 2018 model year, including new platforms and engines; and
- Pointed to the recovery of the U.S. market in announcing that the OEM will deliver three times as many products here as in the recent past.
Yamaha revealed the Viking side-by-side that seats three people, redesigned YZ450F and YZ250F motocross bikes, the revamped YFZ450R sport ATV, the Grizzly 700 with a wider chassis and updated power steering, and the FZ-09 naked sportbike powered by an inline 847cc three-cylinder engine.
Executives explained their marketing plans for each new model, announced several MSRP reductions, and revealed dealer programs targeting new riders, the used bike market and service.
But even as the executives shared these specifics, they continually returned to the idea of a “new era” of upcoming Yamaha innovation.
Star Bolt as paradigm
Near the start of the presentation, the roughly 2,200 dealers and their employees watched a video of Hirohuki Yanagi, the president of Yamaha Japan, and Toshi Kato, the president of Yamaha USA, riding Star cruisers together in Southern California, both men clad in flannel shirts and blue jeans.
Immediately after the video, the presidents rode the motorcycles upon the stage wearing the same clothes. They parked their bikes and in turn addressed the crowd.
“I believe we are past the market’s most difficult period and have reached a positive turning point,” Yanagi said. “The U.S. motorsports business is ready for growth once more. … Today I would like to announce that we are making significant investments to develop new products at maximum speed so we can introduce twice as many new products worldwide in the next several years.”
Kato said the U.S. market in particular will receive three times as many products as in the recent past. “To create these products, I decided to increase operations of our Newnan, Ga., factory with more product development focusing on the American consumer,” he said.
Kato then explained a Yamaha marketing plan to reach nontraditional riders such as young people and women. As an example, he cited the 2014 Star Bolt unveiled three months ago at Daytona Bike Week (a stylish R-Spec version hits showrooms in July).
“The introduction of the new Bolt was just the first example of this strategy,” he said. “As you have already seen, the Bolt is immediately appealing to a wide range of American customers. We will continue in this direction and focus on this way of creating a new demand for Yamaha products.” (continued)