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Archive for March, 2007

March 7, 2007

Time to Ride

I have not been on an FX Nytro since last spring in Japan and that was on an early prototype. Our snowmobile product manager, Jon Blaicher, has plugged into testing several times since, offering his input as the sled has evolved. Our pre-production machines have finally arrived in Canada. We still don’t have all the tuning parts we need to attain final settings but enough information is available for us to get them in the ball-park using the standard range of adjustments. Time for me to ride!

We are loading up the Tundra and heading to a top secret location, (Lac-à-l’Eau-Claire) in Quebec. I figure before I address some of the comments I am reading here and on Totallyamaha a little research is in order.

Jon and I make a good team. Here I am, 50 something, been run hard and put away wet and Jon, in his prime, still pushing hard whether its on his R6 at track days, the YZ or his sled. You guessed it, we have slightly different perspectives on what makes a great snowmobile. We plan to rack-up a couple hundred clicks on the FX Nytro RTX before lunch on some of my favorite Quebec trails, no strings attached. Then go back out and do it again. I’ll collect our thoughts and post over the weekend.
Starting with our top 5-Star dealerships, we have invited all our snowmobile dealers from across Canada over several days to ride the new sleds in fairly small, intimate groups. This won’t be a once around the block deal, they’ll have a chance to head out with Jon on a real, good trail ride. Now I know what you’re thinking. We will not be offering public demo rides at this time. It will be up to Mother Nature to see if and where we can accommodate riding after our dealer meetings. In closing, what I find really cool, after all these years, I still get really excited to pull the trigger on a new sled… damn I hate my job! cr

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Posted @ 10:32 am in Yamaha Insights   

March 5, 2007

Our Little Piece of the Pie

I was asked ‘what is the deal with market share (sales numbers) and why don’t we publish the information?’. There are a few things you need to know about this data. First and foremost the numbers are collected and distributed internally through our manufacturer association (ISMA) under an agreement of complete confidentiality and for good reason. We can speak to our own numbers if we choose but respectfully, not to the other manufacturers.
The data is broken out in such a way we can get a very good idea what model segments and variations hold the most volume, which is good to know for development. We can also use this information for forecasting and inventory control. The last thing any of us need (including you the owner of a new sled) is warehouses or dealerships full of non-current snowmobiles.

When you do hear about market share positions you should know each country will likely have a very different result largely based on terrain, usage and infrastructure.
Data that does trickle into the market generally reflects total sales including non-current (older models), utility and kids sleds. Brand X is number 1 and brand Z is number 4, simple? Nope.
Here’s a hypothetical example lets say there are four sled distributors in Canada. Blue, Red Yellow and Green and each one has 25% market share total. Now look only at small displacement work sleds perhaps one company would have 70% market share where another would have none at all. Now look at performance trail sleds 600cc and up. Blue has 25% and Green has 30% total. Back out the non-current models and all of a sudden Green has 20% and Blue 35% (again this is hypothetical). Go back to the original 25% for each player and back out the kids sleds (under 200cc). Now it might look like 20% 20% 25% and 35%.
I can tell you that Yamaha has experienced healthy growth within a fairly flat market in Canada. We have advanced share significantly with an expanding model line up as more and more people experience the real benefits of owning four-stroke sleds.
My biggest concern for the sport and business is when I look south. Several seasons of poor snowfall has seen the total US market in decline. A couple of good snow years will change all that and I believe it will happen. It is the history of our business being tied closely to the weather (sorry Al, not climate... WEATHER!).

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Posted @ 5:33 pm in Yamaha Insights   

March 2, 2007

FX Nytro Fuel Capacity

I have read and received several inquiries and comments regarding the fuel capacity of the new sled. I remember back in 1991 when we were in the development stages of Vmax4. There were some heated discussions over the size of the fuel tank (which was 36 liter if I recall). The final conclusion was simple ‘we don’t care how much it holds it just better go a 100 miles, minimum‘ (ends up, that wasn’t always the case with the big Vmax but close)… Well I asked around and we are getting better than that out of the FX Nytro. I won’t throw any data on the table because operating conditions can have a profound effect on fuel consumption. In a nut shell, I don’t care how much it holds I care how far it will go on a full tank. I would suggest if it goes the same distance as a competitive style 2-stroker that has a larger tank, it’s not only OK, its a big bonus!

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Posted @ 6:38 pm in Yamaha Insights   

Early Deposit Sales Program

In response to an earlier question… here is a copy of our EDP but the best place to read between the lines is at your favorite Yamaha dealership.

ymca-2008-smb-edp-web-promo-feb-07.pdf

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Posted @ 1:07 pm in Yamaha Insights   

March 1, 2007

Welcome to ‘Yamaha Sled Talk’

Hello and welcome to Yamaha Sled Talk. My name is Chris Reid and this is my first ‘kick’ at this blog. I hope you will find it both informative and entertaining.

It’s an interesting trail I have followed to this place. I’ve spent countless hours online reading forums frequented by snowmobile, ATV and motorcycle riders. I believe the internet is a great resource for companies who want to discover what is being said about their industry, their business acumen and their products. It is also a frightening place for the old school ‘marketers’ who have traditionally delivered carefully crafted ad campaigns to the masses, in support of new product sales with precious little, direct communication outside of the corporate boardrooms.

Suddenly we have thousands of people saying whatever they wish about us, some good, some bad and some ugly. I have tried posting on some forums when I felt I could help address or diffuse an issue with answers I knew as fact, only to discover the next person would jump on my post and quickly dispel it as tripe, because it didn’t fit into their own context.

Now I basically lurk, read, smile and shake my head, which brings me to ‘Sled Talk’.

So on that note what are we going to talk about here? Well I can offer my insights into product development, how ideas are formed and brought to production as new models (or not). We can look at how our system is designed to investigate and react to market information. The subject of four stroke snowmobile development and how we view the future poses many potential questions. And the current and future health of our sport, the interpretation of regulations, poor snowfall years, media attention and aging demographics. These are but a few of the topic headers so if you have a comment or question you would like to introduce here, please ‘let ‘ur rip’. I’ll do my best to publish as much as I can and promise to keep my comments ‘smoke free’.

One last thing, I personally maintain all sleds are worthy of ownership and all snowmobilers have a common bond with an inherent responsibility to co exist with other outdoors folks both motorized and non-motorized alike. As such I welcome comments and questions from everyone regardless of brand loyalties and riding preference. Please remember there are some rules for engagement, nothing too surprising but you should check them out.

So lets get started, we just introduced the all new 2008 FX Nytro along with the rest of our 2008 lineup on Sunday, what do you think so far?

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Posted @ 10:52 am in Welcome