Yamaha’s SxS business expecting major growth

Staffers moving to Georgia operations due to production

There was a time when half of Yamaha’s side-by-sides and ATVs were produced in Japan, and the other half were made in Georgia.

That was yesteryear. Now, the Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corp. plant in Newnan, Ga., is home to nearly 100 percent of production for both segments. So the time is right for Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., to move its Cypress-based ATV/side-by-side research and development and marketing personnel from Cypress, Calif., to the Yamaha corporate offices in Kennesaw, Ga. The Atlanta-area facility also houses Yamaha’s WaterCraft and Marine divisions.

That staffing shift is part of a large growth plan in the company’s side-by-side business. A second plant in Newnan meant to house side-by-side production specifically is now fully operational, with the initial plant the home of ATV production. Engines for vehicles in both segments are still manufactured in Japan.

Dealers may or may not notice the staffing switch, but they will notice an influx of Yamaha side-by-sides being produced in the immediate future.

“Our plan is to grow, from today, our side-by-side business almost tenfold over the next three years,” Mike Martinez, vice president of Recreation Vehicle Operations at Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., revealed to Powerpsorts Business during a Viking VI press event earlier this summer at the Lost Pines Resort in Austin, Texas. “Dealers need to really start thinking about an expanding business for side-by-side vehicles that are two to three times larger than what they might currently sell. If you’re a Yamaha-only dealer and you’re going to grow 10 times, you have to start thinking about it.”

And while blowing out walls to expand a showroom could be an option for some dealers, Martinez has been impressed by the outdoor showroom expansion that is taking place, with perhaps only a roof to cover the vehicles.

“They need to think about their outside space as a display area as well — it doesn’t all need to be indoors,” Martinez said. “It’s going to fit in a showroom, but a lot of dealers have taken to displaying them outdoors.”

Martinez was preparing to welcome 75 dealers who had won a Viking (3-seat) sales contest leading into the event at the resort that, as one journalist said, was “part Disney, part summer camp.”

Yamaha staffers built a formidable test trail on the adjacent property owned by the resort, and since construction was soon going to begin on an addition to the property, the timing was right to move some dirt.

In lieu of a dealer meeting this year, Martinez said the unique event was meant to provide Yamaha’s top performing Viking dealers an early look at the Viking VI.

“We’ve never done anything like this,” he said. “We wanted to get our top volume dealers together so that number one, they’re educated about the product, and number two, to build relationships with them and get feedback from them directly.”


A grassy knoll served as the lone meeting space for the dealers, and no typical PowerPoint presentation was given.

“It’s a more casual setting. We just want to learn more from them directly how we can improve this business for them,” Martinez said. 

Yamaha’s U.S. regional managers and regional marketing managers also joined. In fact, there were 40 Yamaha staffers from Kennesaw, Cypress and Japan.

The Yamaha Viking VI was first revealed to 75 dealers who won a sales contest leading into the event at the Lost Pines Resort in Austin, Texas.
The Yamaha Viking VI was first revealed to 75 dealers who won a sales contest leading into the event at the Lost Pines Resort in Austin, Texas.

Plenty of accessories

Some dealers who stock the Viking VI had already reached nearly a dozen pre-orders shortly after the reveal. It’s not surprising that many of them will have customers who exceed $5,000 in accessories for the Viking VI, which has a $12,799 non-EPS MSRP for the standard version, and $13,799 for EPS models.

Among the latest accessories for the Viking VI are a molded sun top, soft sun top, second battery kit, camo polyester seat cover set, heated seat cover, chain saw mount and bow case mount.

“You can’t talk about these vehicles without talking about accessories,” Martinez said. “There’s really no separation. We’re focused on that with Viking, and we want to continue to grow in that area. Part of that transfer to Georgia is working closer with our accessory group, and them working closer with the factory. The accessories are another huge part to whole puzzle with side-by-side. It’s critical to our future success and the profitability of our dealers.”

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