Yamaha’s move to consolidate its North American snowmobile operations should not come as a surprise as the ground work for this move began a few years ago when Yamaha and Arctic Cat became partners. This could be considered the beginning of the “globalization” of the Yamaha snowmobile brand, with Arctic Cat supplying platforms and Yamaha supplying a four-stroke engine. Now that partnering of Cat chassis and Yamaha power has led to creation of one of the most powerful and fastest production snowmobiles to ever spin a track.
With all the drama surrounding such an announcement, Yamaha enthusiasts won’t find much changing for them. The announcement that effective July 1, 2016, Yamaha “…will use North America as its global headquarters for snowmobile operations,” really is formalizing a reality that has been underway for the past few seasons. North America is the biggest and most significant snowmobile market. Yet within this global plan Yamaha’s North American snowmobile group works with its Yamaha partners in Scandinavia and Russia to bring revamped technologies like the “born-again” VK540 two-stroke utility model to North American consumers, who have asked for such a vehicle. In this new world of Yamaha snowmobiles, the new North American Snowmobile Division will take the lead in managing Yamaha’s worldwide snowmobile business.
In the past two seasons even the minimally staffed US-based Yamaha snowmobile presence acknowledged the de facto creation of a North American snowmobile group with key inputs coming from the Toronto-based Yamaha Canada operation. That de facto status is now THE real status as the North American Snowmobile Division effectively assumes worldwide snowmobile product development, business planning and marketing.
What does this mean for the short term? For consumers not much right now, but it most likely foreshadows an increased partnership with Arctic Cat to provide more Yamaha-brand, Yamaha-powered snowmobiles. For the long term? We’d expect increased efficiencies, the ability to react more quickly to changes and needs in the snowmobile market. As Peter Smallman-Tew, Yamaha’s North American Team Leader stated, “We are confident that these changes will help us serve our North American dealers and customers better.” And that’s the bottom line: increasing Yamaha’s presence in the largest snowmobile market.
Yamaha Motor Announces New North American Snowmobile Division
June 30, 2016 (Toronto, ON) – Yamaha Motor Co., has announced that effective July 1, 2016, it will use North America as its global headquarters for snowmobile operations.
The new North American Snowmobile Division will take the lead in managing Yamaha’s worldwide snowmobile business, including product development, business planning, and marketing. The objective is to bring greater focus to North America by increasing speed of product development, improving coordination and efficiencies with industry partners, and better research and product planning decisions due to closer proximity to the market.
Headquartered in Toronto, ON, the division is comprised of Canadian and US-based employees to remain highly focused on both major markets.
In addition, Yamaha will increase investment in North American based engineering, research and design.
“For the last few years, Yamaha Motor US and Yamaha Motor Canada have been taking on additional responsibility for the snowmobile market,” commented Peter Smallman-Tew, North American Team Leader. “Yamaha Motor Co. has been encouraged with our progress and we are excited to accept this new challenge. We are confident that these changes will help us serve our North American dealers and customers better.”
As a result of these changes, the daily snowmobile operations performed at Yamaha Motor USA’s Lakeview branch office in Pleasant Prairie, WI, will be transitioned to Toronto, ON, Minocqua, WI and Kennesaw, GA.
The Yamaha North American Snowmobile Division is busily preparing for the arrival of the first Sidewinder Series of snowmobiles, the most powerful snowmobiles ever released! In addition, the upcoming 2017 season will also welcome Yamaha’s 50th anniversary for the 2018 model year. It promises to be an exciting season!