Feb. 8, 2010: Yamaha’s distribution program continues to expand

Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A. wrapped up a huge growth year for its parts, accessory and garment distribution.

The company more than tripled the number of aftermarket suppliers it’s working with in 2009 in its still relatively new enlarged distribution program. In late 2008, the company expanded its distribution to more than just Yamaha-branded PG&A. Six months into this new program, 25 suppliers had come onboard.

Today, that number has swelled to more than 75 companies.

Bret Snider, Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A.’s accessory product planning department manager, says the year-long growth has been spurred by a couple of advantages Yamaha possesses: its existing U.S. network of franchised dealers and the fact that aftermarket manufacturers appreciate that Yamaha has fewer competing suppliers than other distributors. Yamaha also has an ability to reach the consumer through direct mail marketing.

“We’re not that deep in competing product,” Snider said, noting that having a complete line of products is more important to Yamaha than adding competing products.

Yamaha also has made some in-roads in a highly competitive part of the aftermarket: commodities. The company has added battery providers, including Yuasa, a few specialty tires, like ITP tires for sport ATVs, and has seen its Yamalube program increase dramatically. “Our drum oil sales to service departments has skyrocketed,” he said.

How many more suppliers does Yamaha hope to add to its PG&A portfolio in 2010? Snider says the company has no specific goal as it has transitioned into less of a growth mode and more of a refinement stage.

“It comes down to relationships and filling the gaps in our lineup,” he said, noting Yamaha is currently negotiating with some high-profile brands. “It’s trying to find the right partners to add value to our dealers.”

Part of the reason Yamaha took on the added distribution was its warehouse capacity, which increased in the past few years. Yamaha has three

U.S. warehouses, including a 400,000-square-foot facility in Kennesaw, Ga., that doubled in size in early 2009.

Snider says Yamaha will continue to add suppliers in 2010 as it looks for companies that can collaborate on marketing and provide product pricing that makes sense for all parties. “If I can’t price the product correctly, then it’s an injustice to Yamaha and the brand we’re trying to represent,” he said.

—Neil Pascale


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