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March 15, 2011

Tragedy in Japan

We have had many calls and emails regarding the tragic events in Japan. For once I am at a loss for words as I don’t know where to begin. From what I can gather all of our Japanese staff are very fortunate not to have any immediate family or friends in the Sendai area but judging from their faces, they most assuredly know people who do. I had planned to travel to Japan this weekend to attend snowmobile meetings in the northern island of Hokaido but the call came through this morning that the meeting is cancelled (postponed). I don’t mind telling you I am somewhat relieved as the threat of a nuclear catastrophe has been weighing heavily on me since the news started trickling out about the potential melt-down of the reactors.

Yamaha operations are mainly focused in and around the Shizuoka prefecture with the main factories and headquarters in Iwata. I was told that the factories will be helping conserve power by participating in the rotating black-outs but are far enough away from the epicenter to have not incurred any  damage. For now all focus must be on the survivors and what can be done to help them through this.

I received a good response to my survey both here on Sled Talk and over on Totallyamaha. I haven’t had enough time to analyze all the data and produce a summary but it is clear to me that the market is opening up in the smaller less expensive categories. Can we take this as a viable business opportunity? It’s a lot easier to market a hi-performance, hi tech, hi-buck machine in some respects because there is more money to be made  within the tight margins which may not be justifiable at a lower price point.  You know its the ROI part that takes all the fun out of spit-balling  a new model, whether it is entry level or flagship… Time will tell.

cheers cr


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Posted @ 3:44 pm in Yamaha People and Communication   

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8 Responses to “Tragedy in Japan”

  1. pat the rat says:

    i am so so sorry for what happened in japan,i am lost for words,my prayers go to all japanese people,chow

  2. IveyRider says:

    Please convey our thoughts and prayers to your colleague’s and friends in Japan. I am confident in the Japanese spirit! And also confident that the rest of the world will jump in with both feet to help. God Bless them all!

  3. Frank McGachy says:

    Our thought and prayers are with them, Frank.

  4. Yellowknife says:

    The CBC has put up a website called cbc.ca/japanrelief for donations and information. Fingers crossed for gaining control over the nuclear situation and aid to those in need.


  5. Low slung says:

    Very sad and tragic events going on in japan.Lets hope and pray for the best.

  6. Stephen Burdick says:


    My heart goes out to everyone living in that region and to the friends and family of Yamaha. They have certainly enriched my quality of living!

    On a brighter note, my 23 month old son is riding his own sled now. He can use the throttle and can turn and steer. I have a wheel kit on a “non-blue” sled and he rides it up and down our street. I would love to have him on a small Yamaha. The sno-scoot and bravo are years away, but would love to see a little blue machine in his future.

    Steve Burdick

  7. Scott says:

    I was watching some videos of the tidal surge flooding parts of Japan. It was scary to see that much water flooding streets, sweeping away cars like they were toys and then to see homes start floating away. It seemed unbelievable.

    On a brighter note, do you think you could share the results of your survey? I just bought my 8 year old daughter an ’02 Indy Lite 340 this week. Hard for me to believe that no one is producing a sled in this class anymore. She absolutely loves the machine. She is big for her age and looks ridiculous on the Polaris 120 she started off on. The Indy Lite is even electric start! It isn’t a lot smaller than a normal Indy, but it is low and wide and the bars and controls seem a little smaller. It fits her really well, but I think it would be perfect if it was slightly smaller.

    It’s so weird to me that the snowmachine market offers nothing for kids that are too big for 120’s. Both the dirt bike and ATV market offers lots of choices. Is their a big glut of used beginner sleds that have not sold or have to move through the market before the OEM’s will start making new ones? My 5 year old son will be ready to move off the 120 by the end of next winter.

  8. Mark Lawson says:

    Thoughts and prayers to those in Japan CR!

    I wanted to comment on the lower-cost sled market and the Spring Surge email blast I received today from Yamaha.

    I posed this question on totally Yamaha as well, but would love to get it from the proverbial horses mouth!

    I just got the email from Yamaha today promoting the 2012 Spring Surge. It mentioned the $1500 optional SuperCharger or Turbo on Nytro MTX models (plus labor)

    This seems like a sweet deal compared to $5000. I’m sure it’s all worked in there somewhere. But it makes for a nice promotion.

    So I see two reasons for MTX only models. I read of the new stronger track to handle the power, and have read about setups for high altitude only.

    Are these the two reasons we cannot order a flat-lander 121″ Turbo Nytro?

    I am guessing they could get an upgraded track, but is Yamaha not comfortable boosting that engine at near sea-level?

    To get back to the lower cost sled market, what are the chances of Yamaha offering a boosted Phazer MTX?

    Again, I’m sorry if this has been discussed in the other 2012 threads, but they have turned into such brand bashing sessions, it gets hard to read 20+ pages of it.

    Thanks CR, keep up the good work!

    Hey Mark. First the turbo sales program is only available from Yamaha USA. We could not follow in Canada for several good reasons. The main reason for the MTX only is based on the horsepower loss in normally aspirated engines (approximately 3% / 1000 ft). This is the main reason the powers that be, were willing to except this fairly serious engine mod. The chances at sea level for abuse and possible failure would increase a lot without some additional tweaking to lower boost etc. It’s all about fuel quality, potential time at wide open throttle and the wing nut adjustment on the end of the loud handle… As far as I know it really has nothing to do with the track. As far as the price goes, it is absolutely a smoking deal, heavily subsidized by the sales program. cheers cr

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