ATVs? Check. PWCs? Got ’em. Side-by-sides? No problem. Golf cars? Yep. More ATVs? Sure thing. Governor? Well, he was almost there, too.
The Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation plant in Newnan, Ga., boasts an ultra-technological assembly line that has to be seen to understand its effectiveness as the plant produces all four of those aforementioned vehicle segments.
The production capacity tackled another growth spurt in May, when Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. announced that the factory would be taking over production from Japan of all Yamaha ATVs. In May, the Grizzly 700 and 550 FI (standard and EPS), the top-selling big bore utility ATV, made the move to the Georgia plant. The transfer brings all Yamaha 4x4 ATV and side-by-side production to Georgia. Additional ATV models will be transferred in 2012 and 2013.
A sun-soaked morning press conference brought together dozens of local and state dignitaries, and nearly attracted Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who ended up absent due to a scheduling conflict. Newnan Mayor Keith Brady proclaimed “Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation Day” in the city southwest of Atlanta.
With an investment of $250 million into the plant over the last 10 years, Yamaha officials were in a celebratory mood upon announcing that the two Grizzly lines will now be produced at the plant, making the move from Japanese production. A new “Assembled in the U.S.A.” logo was unveiled in front of hundreds of plant workers.
“This is a very important initiative for Yamaha, for our 1,300 dealer partners that we have across the Unites States and also for the people of the state of Georgia,” said Henio Arcangeli Jr., president of Yamaha Motorsports Group. “With the transfer of production to this facility, we’ll be better able to support our dealer partners as well as their customers with a broad line of the highest quality, most reliable ATVs engineered right here in this state-of-the-art facility here in Newnan.”
The production transfer of the Grizzly will take place through 2012, and Arcangeli noted that the plant “should be able to add about 200 new jobs to the facility. In addition, we’ll be able to add jobs to the 125 North American suppliers that we have nearby here.”
The Newnan factory first began making golf cars in 1988. In the 1989, the WaveRunner PWC found a home in Newnan. Utility ATVs began production in 1998, and Rhino side-by-sides came on board in 2003.
“Now, in 2011, we start production of two of the biggest, best-selling ATVs in Yamaha’s lineup,” YMMC senior vice president Mike Chrzanowski said. “Nowhere in the world will you find another factory with the range of capabilities YMMC has to produce four different product lines. With our ingenious flexible assembly line that we use to produce multiple product lines, we have invested significantly to our production capabilities.”
Harry Ito, president of Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corp., presented Grizzly ATVs to both the Coweta County Sheriff’s Department and the Coweta County Fire Department.
“I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to the management and all the employees right here at Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation for their dedicated service and hard work they put in to ensure the success of this production transfer,” Ito said. “We couldn’t have done it without them. With them we will continue to produce the highest quality, most durable ATVs and side-by-side vehicles on the market.”
Chrzanowski also pointed to the facility’s employees as the reason for the production transfer. He noted that since April 2009, more than 600 man-hours had gone into the preparation for the shift in production from five to seven ATV base models.
“The most important factor is not the facility, but the hard working and dedicated workforce that designs, develops, tests and produces our products,” he said. “As the U.S. economy continues to improve, we look forward to the increased volume this model will bring to our factory and the resulting increase in new jobs.”
How will the production transfer benefit dealers? Yamaha officials pointed to optimized manufacturing capacity; consolidated production management and manufacturing technologies; streamlined supply chain; and speed to market.
By the end of the presentation on a “Chamber of Commerce” day, Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) was providing Yamaha with ideas for other uses of his state’s workforce.
“It’s with great pleasure that I welcome this expansion,” he said. “I know that we’re going to be adding employees here and they’ll be just as good as y’all are. In fact, I wanted to tell [Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. president] Mr. [Toshi] Kato and Mr. Ito that I believe we could build pianos if they would let us!”