INDIANAPOLIS — Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A has broadened its parts and accessory business by taking its distribution one step farther than many OEMs.
Rather than strictly distributing Yamaha-branded products, a common practice for OEMs, the manufacturer has begun distributing aftermarket company products as well.
“We’re not trying to dilute our brand,” said Bret Snider, Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A.’s product planning department manager. “We’re very much trying to complete the total offering so dealers can turn to us as a one-stop shop.”
The relatively new business model is designed to offer Yamaha dealers parts and accessories that compliment Yamaha’s branded items. So far, 25 aftermarket companies have signed on, meaning in just six months or so, Yamaha has added more than 500 additional parts to its dealer offerings, Snider says.
Yamaha is adding both two-wheel and four-wheel aftermarket items to its national distribution program.
The new approach, started last August, came as a result of discussions with dealers, Snider says.
“One topic that came up over and over again was that dealers are already buying an awful lot of Yamaha-branded accessories from us and they have been encouraging us and pushing us toward offering basically everything they buy,” he said. “When it comes to parts and accessories, they’re trying to qualify for Yamaha sales programs, they’re trying to qualify for distributor sales programs and they really want to focus on one project or the other.”
With three U.S. warehouses, including one that recently doubled in size, warehouse capacity is not an issue. In fact, Snider says the company currently does not have any end goal in terms of how many aftermarket companies it wants to distribute for.
“It’s basically make smart business decisions to reach our sales objections and work within as many companies as it makes sense to do that,” Snider said.
What Yamaha is pitching to potential aftermarket company clients is its dealer network — 1,500 strong — and its ability to reach its end user with direct mail marketing.
“We’re very excited,” Snider said. “The sales have already taken off from the accessories brought in through that program. It’s very encouraging.”
Snider and his staff are approaching aftermarket companies that can hit areas of the market that Yamaha-branded items might not reach simply because of company limitations.
Snider used the new YZF-R1 as an example, noting that Yamaha has been developing accessories internally for the past two years for the MotoGP-inspired bike. But Yamaha knows that even with all the parts and accessories it comes out with, there will be others that dealers are interested in stocking.
“The list could be 100 new accessories that we want to develop for that bike,” he said. “Well once we engage engineering and purchasing and get all the people involved to look at that accessory list, most of the time we don’t have the capacity to do all 100 accessories. So we’ll do, let’s say, the top 70 accessories internally. Well the 30 that we can’t do, we’ll basically use this new (business model) to pick up those 30 accessories.”
Snider says Yamaha has been selective about approaching specific aftermarket companies, ensuring they will fill a niche that Yamaha sees in its product offerings.
“We do market research long before the motorcycle is launched and the market research is what drives the accessories that we identify that we want to either develop internally or carry” through the new distribution program.
Many of the items the company is distributing that are not Yamaha-branded are exclusive to Yamaha. One such example is a blue-colored handlebar from Tag Metals that is used on Yamaha’s supercross and motocross race teams.
However, exclusivity is not a requirement, Snider says. Companies that do share exclusive arrangements with Yamaha have at times worked with the OEM in getting new unit data sooner than the rest of the marketplace. That type of arrangement, Snider pointed out, is on a case-by-case basis.
Snider also says aftermarket companies that distribute through Yamaha can reach a global audience. “Canada has been a big customer of ours and Latin America looks like it will be a pretty big customer of ours as well,” he said.
Yamaha has three U.S. warehouses that it can ship parts and accessories through, including in Lakeview, Wis. (175,000 square feet), Cypress, Calif. (125,000 square feet) and in Kennesaw, Ga. (400,000 square feet). The latter one was doubled in size at the beginning of the year.
“Initially we did not want to compete with our own branded product,” Snider said, “but the more we get into it, the more we’re getting the sense that we need to offer that variety.”
— Neil Pascale
Copyright 2009 Powersports Business