Factory products, partner accessories add breadth
Yamaha’s Parts and Accessories division continues to reap benefits of Yamaha Motor Corp.’s decision to shift production of all ATVs and side-by-sides for worldwide distribution to Yamaha Motor Corp. U.S.A.’s factory in Newnan, Georgia.
The OEM continues to ramp up its offering of UTV parts and accessories for the Viking, Viking VI, Wolverine and YXZ1000R families.
Powersports Business editor in chief Dave McMahon sat down with a pair of key players in the Customer Support Group — marketing manager Jonathan Frank and product planning supervisor Phillip Speligene — to learn more about the latest accessories.
Powersports Business: With Wolverine and Viking now already into a few model years, I’ve noticed your forming new partnerships with some vendors to help the end user.
Yamaha Customer Support Group: What we’ve done with those lines is expanded their versatility by working with some key partners to bring out some specific products, like DFK Cabs. They’ve built a hard cab enclosure for the Wolverine, Viking and Viking VI. That was a big shift for us to offer that item, along with partnering with Fox on the Viking for a Viking-specific suspension upgrade kit, and with MSA, or Wheel Pro, to offer a wheel and tire. One of the reasons we did this is we are a really good solution for our dealers to provide one sku for a very reliable solution. There are so many options and varieties; we’re able to partner with these companies and get what we know is the right product for them.
PSB: What about some of the factory product enhancements for the new models?
CSG: We’ve upgraded the overhead audio system on the Wolverine and Viking to include a new controller, and an upgrader speaker and dome light, and we were able to keep the same price. So we were able to feature those products up to meet market demands and keep the same price.
PSB: I’ve seen a lot of packaging-type approach to accessory sales at Yamaha dealerships over the last year or so. Is that a new trend?
CSG: We’ve expanded the breadth of our accessory offering, and we’ve really identified what the end goal is with the customers using the units. The customization of an already great unit is really important. We’ve really started to market packages, so not as much the individual accessories, but more the lifestyle they are portraying. So maybe it’s a cold weather package, where it’s everything they would need to work and/or play in a colder environment. Maybe it’s a dune package or podium package to fit their lifestyle. The dealer might have six or 10 items all shown together, and the customer can pick and choose the ones that meet their specific needs. For example, a Viking might be displayed with hard cab, and tracks, and front and rear brush guards to meet the most extreme cold weather needs. Maybe the guy dials it down and doesn’t pick all of them. On the other hand, you have the tire and wheel package, and that’s one sku. One part number gets you all four wheels and tires.
PSB: What makes you decide to partner with them instead of making it factory built?
CSG: We’re capable of building absolutely any accessory we could ever consider, and we’re constantly in communication with dealers and consumers about what they need to make their experience better on the unit. So we look at what’s the best way to meet the customer’s needs at the best price in the most expeditious manner.
PSB: How important has the ORV move to the Newnan factory been to the Parts and Accessories team?
CSG: It’s been an absolutely huge benefit for us. Our product development team is working on a ton of stuff. You saw the GYTR (Genuine Yamaha Technology Racing) stuff that came out last fall. We’re seen some really big shifts in terms of our integration with the factory now that we’re really in line with them from the minute the unit becomes a concept, and we’re thinking about accessory options and integration. Like on the new Kodiak 450, the integrated wiring for the winch. It’s pre-wired on the unit, so the kit is a lower cost and easier to install. And we’re coming out with 50 or so new accessories for the YXZ, probably over 75 new items when you look at the GYTR products that we offer.
PSB: The GYTR accessories really take the machines to a new level of performance.
CSG: We’ve reinvented the GYTR brand and are bringing it back to its roots. It’s the highest level of performance and quality that you can expect. First, we have a full-on race naturally aspirated cylinder head kit, which piggybacks off our quality GYTR heads for YZs and YFZs that we’ve head for decades. So now we have a naturally aspirated complete cylinder head as a performance kit for the YXZ. And we’ve gone even further and done some intake modifications, and we have a newly designed piston and partnered with DASA Racing on an exhaust system. We have an in-house designed turbo system that we’re taking pre-orders on. Dealers want that quality and reliability you get with the GYTR and Yamaha name together. It’s a nice balance for customers to know that they are going to get a product that looks right, fits right and performs right, and that’s going to translate into selling right.
PSB: What are you doing with your dealers to help them move more accessories?
CSG: We recognize that you can have the best packaging in the world, but it really doesn’t show the customer how it’s to be utilized in their lifestyle. We’ve taken an active role with our dealers to get these accessories on the units to show the unit in the best light possible for their specific lifestyle.
PSB: With Yamaha writing its own paper with its retail financing arm via Yamaha Motor Finance, how does that impact accessories sales?
CSG: When consumers see an accessorized unit on the floor, that’s the one they usually go up to and say they want. And they can actually finance the additional parts and accessories on top of it. It’s the perfect package all around.