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Archive for October, 2013

October 28, 2013

Show Down

I enjoyed the Toronto Snowmobile Show this year. It felt busy and upbeat to me, more-so than in previous years. I spent a couple of hours touring the floor with Masa and Sage Sawai, kicking tires, pointing out products, features and technologies that impact our business. It was interesting to observe their reactions. I noted some things I take for granted were eagerly viewed and others I tried to champion, were met with little exuberance.

We had a small display comprised of three rear suspension rails bolted together side by side. Two rails were off the same (used) skid-frame, the left one had production hy-fax and the right had a Dupont hyfax (impregnated with Vespel inserts). The third rail had a brand new stick of the Dupont in place. The used rails had just over 1100km of southern Ontario scratching on them and the difference between the material wear properties was blatantly obvious. The standard Hyfax showed significant wear ahead of the front idlers, with an uneven undulating pattern towards the rear. The Dupont stick showed almost no wear, remaining straight and flat along its entire length.

It was fun having this tool when trying to explain why someone would want to spend a C-note plus for a stick of plastic and a pleasure to announce it’s inclusion on the production units coming out of our Japan factory. To that point, the Japanese Dupont’s have less Vespel inserts than our accessory parts as they are quite labor intensive to produce.

The question was posed and the answer yes, we have prepared the Duponts with a T-cut specific to the SR Viper skid-frame which is common to many Arctic Cat models and AC will also be making available through their dealers. So-if you have any friends riding green that smell like burning garbage bags in the morning – we have the cure!

It was no dull surprise to read a thread on TY where a lot of Viper owners have received their accessories already. Now all they need is a sled to put them on. Good news is: a steady train of trucks are leaving TRF daily, loaded with Vipers and heading for a dealership near you. I noticed several guys are asking about the tracks on the Vipers. Ripsaw-2 / 2ply on the RTX / LTX and Cobra 1-ply / 3P on XTX SE. There is 9T extroverts on 129 / 137 – 8T extroverts on 141. The drive belt is shorter on SR compared to Apex / Vector (8DN) so you can’t interchange and I wouldn’t suggest you even consider for a spare unless its an emergency. It’ll fit but you’ll be driving around in 3rd gear so to speak…

Another question from the show… ECU calibration. The ECU is the same on Viper as it is in the 7000, horsepower output is identical. How it is put to the ground is another story. One that will be told on the snow. I’ll watch for any more scuttlebutt, ugly rumors or out and out horse-pucky and weigh-in when I can… cheers cr

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Posted @ 4:02 pm in Accessory Stuff,Yamaha Insights   

October 11, 2013

Keepin it Simple… NOT

jet lagBeen home over a week now and the jet-lag is about gone. It was smoking hot in Japan and a typhoon lingering at sea, kept things breezy and really humid. The snowmobile meetings went quite well but the agenda was unusual. I finished up the week attending some ATV / ROV planning sessions, but we’re here to talk sleds. I wasn’t there to work on any project specifically. It was more of an information /strategic session to clarify the roles and process of planning both at factory and in the market. I have been elected to represent snowmobile planning for North America as one entity, uniting Canada and the USA with one ‘voice’. We have some really good people involved in both companies and I am looking forward to seeing our snowmobile business evolve without borders.

I was writing my report in the hotel when I pondered the old marketing rule on the role of the ‘4-P’s’ – the fundamentals required to sell: Price / Place / Product / Promotion. The lesson: Get them right and success will follow.

My how things have changed since college. If I was teaching marketing 101 to prepare students for the new world, I would be dearly tempted to coin the 4-P’s in the modern application as Policies – Procedures – Politics – Permissions! That little epiphany had me laughing out loud at my own wit. But to the point, nothing is simple any more. I know many of you wonder why we don’t just do the obvious when it comes to new model development. I think you would be blown away if you knew how complicated things become when put in the context of the new P’s. It is not as easy as you may think!

We hosted meetings here in Toronto this past week with our North American team; Cypress, Pleasant Prairie, Minocqua and Ontario all present. Our direction for snowmobile is quite clear all the way out to 2017 and it’s exciting to feel the synergies coming together within our new North American organization.

The fall trade shows are upon us with the Toronto Super Show in another week, followed closely by Novi Michigan at months end. I plan on  hanging around the Yamaha booth to chat about all things snowmobile with a watchful eye on the Performance Damper Yamaha Performance Damper FINAL display. That said, I’ll most welcome any opportunities to do market research in the adult libations area in an effort to preserve both my back and voice. Hope to see you there!

cheers cr

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Posted @ 9:25 am in Travel and Events,Yamaha Insights