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Yamaha dealers: Wolverine X4 primed for sales

By Dave McMahon

Capability, comfort, confidence part of all-new 847cc twin-powered 4-seater

One by one, dealers jumped into the all-new 2018 Yamaha Wolverine X4 side-by-side. They were all curious to see how they would fit, and, to a man, the whole lot of  corn-fed, not-so-small specimens hopped out with two thumbs up.

“If I can fit back there, we can sell these!”

“I’m 6-foot-1 and my knees weren’t touching, so yeah, it was a good fit. I’ll be doing the driving most of the time anyway, but you also don’t want your friends or neighbors too tight back there.”

“The stow away seats are going to be a huge selling point. That really adds to the versatility.”

In other words, the new Wolverine was deemed a good fit by most dealers who attended the global reveal at the 2017 Yamaha Motorsports Dealer Trip in September in Asheville, North Carolina. If the host hotel — the The Omni Grove Park Inn — isn’t on your bucket list while riding through the Appalachian Mountains, add it immediately. Ford, Edison and Firestone once vacationed at the hotel. Together. Its cool factor is unbeatable.

Yamaha dealers shared their thoughts on the Wolverine X4 following a demo ride at the Biltmore Estate property. Photos by Dave McMahon/Powersports Business

As for the dealers in attendance, there sales acumen was equally unmatchable. Yamaha invited its top 150 motorcycle and top 150 ATV/side-by-side dealers. The Motor Co., Ltd. brought enough executives to fill a stage. After all, as Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. president and CEO Hiroyuki Yanagi remarked, “The U.S. is the most important market for Yamaha products in the world.”

Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. president Terry Okawa remarked to dealers that the company will be working harder and smarter to meet the demands of new customers, and stay ahead in the market. “New markets and new sales initiatives will help to drive the success of Yamaha and our dealers,” he said.

Among those, a monthly wholesale pilot ordering system for dealers is underway, with a proper rollout anticipated by the end of 2018. District managers will take on more of a retailing focus, with walkaround training becoming a more important part of their responsibilities.

Newly assigned general manager of Yamaha’s Motorcycle Division Mike Doughty made his reveal debut by launching the V-twin bagger, Star Eluder. The 1,854cc V-twin brings 126 pound-feet of torque “with near sport touring handling.” It’s $22,499 MSRP (GT package at $23,999) was met with rabid applause.

This particular group of dealers can best be described as business-savy, and knows a strong-selling price point when it sees one. Jeff Young, vice president and CEO of Yamaha Motor Finance noted that dealers at the Asheville event use YMF 50 percent more often than other Yamaha dealers. Similarly, Asheville dealers add Y.E.S. (Yamaha Extended Service) contracts 30 percent more frequently than other Yamaha dealers.

Mike Martinez, Yamaha ATV/side-by-side group president, talks about the benefits of the Wolverine X4 with Peter Laurelli, sales department manager at Broward Motorsports West Palm Beach in Florida.

Prior to showcasing the Wolverine X4, Mike Martinez, ATV/side-by-side group vice president, revealed the Yamaha’s Plan Your Ride app. Riders can easily plan off-road adventures using Yamaha/Magellan’s trail and track database and trip planning tools on the Yamaha Adventures TRX Trailhead website. Yamaha/Magellan’s database includes observations on route difficulty, conditions and obstacles encountered and more. Plans are in the works for Yamaha to take another step in getting more riders aboard ATVs and side-by-sides, by providing a turnkey program that would offer lodging, machines, gear and other activities for consumers in the most desired side-by-side riding locations. 

And if dealer reaction was any indication, riders will be glad to do their exploring aboard the Wolverine X4. Words like capability, comfort and confidence will be used by sales staff as selling points, but dealers were also glad to hear that the all-new machine offers 600 pounds cargo capacity and 2,000 pounds of towing capacity with self-leveling rear suspension to make for an enjoyable ride regardless of how it’s being used.

Dealers offered another round of applause when it was announced that the vibration and cab noise had been minimized by the design and engineering staff at Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corp. in Newnan, Georgia, where the machine was built for worldwide distribution. 

For dealers who need to offer a smooth and quiet, compact machine that performs in technical terrain, it’s an ideal fit. Over 60 percent of the end users figure to fit the “explore/trail” category, with work (16 percent) and hunting (11 percent) also adding to sales.

Industry-exclusive stow-away full-size rear seats for expanded cargo capacity on demand were the “must see” feature when the machines were released to dealers. See how they work on the Powersports Business Youtube channel.

Built for all weather situations, the Wolverine X4 is also the only four-seat side-by-side to feature a true full hard cab option available direct from the manufacturer. And it brought a “wow” factor on the demo ride site that had many dealers dreaming of snow.

The Wolverine X4 also comes standard with a new Speed Management System, which limits the vehicle to a top speed of 25 MPH by simply turning a (removable) key, making it ideal for work sites and other specialized operating conditions.

Standard Wolverine X4 color options include Graphite (MSRP $15,999), Yamaha Blue with overfenders and cast aluminum wheels (MSRP $16,499), and Realtree Xtra camo with overfenders and cast aluminum wheels (MSRP $16,899).

Donning overfenders, painted bodywork, color-matched interior and shock springs, and cast aluminum wheels, Special Edition (SE) models are available in Matte Silver and Matte Carbon (MSRP $17,249).

“The Wolverine X4 sets a new standard in recreational off-roading, combining Yamaha’s industry-leading durability and reliability with proven off-road capability in a quiet, compact and nimble four-seat side-by-side chassis,” Martinez said. “Yamaha designs, engineers, manufactures and tests its ATV and side-by-side vehicles in the real world, allowing Wolverine X4 owners to confidently realize their off-road adventures with family and friends.”

Standard Wolverine X4 color options include Graphite (MSRP $15,999), Yamaha Blue with overfenders and cast aluminum wheels (MSRP $16,499) and Realtree Xtra camo with overfenders and cast aluminum wheels (MSRP $16,899). Donning overfenders, painted bodywork, color-matched interior and shock springs, and cast aluminum wheels, Special Edition (SE) models are available in Matte Silver and Matte Carbon (MSRP $17,249). 

 

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