April 28, 2015
Paint it Black
This week will see us finish up testing unless something drastic happens with the weather. We are doing some validation work on the 2016 mountain sleds as well as some prototype evaluation on the 17’s, somewhere out west. I am spending the week getting ready for meetings down at our Atlanta facilities (Kennesaw GA). It’s our annual season end wind up meeting with snowmobile service, sales, planning and accessories development people. I will need to review the direction for MY17 and out, then take a look in the rear view to see how successful our spring ‘Power Surge’ and the limited ‘LE’ models ended up.
At the same time, our designers are meeting in California to examine the latest sketches for the MY 17 line and critique some new styling cues in the form of a one ton clay snowmobile – this is where you bite your tongue and refrain from any references to the RX1 ;). Jon will be heading out to represent the North American team and I suspect our new design leader from YMC may be in attendence.
I had the chance to meet Dezi Nagaya on my last visit to Japan where he presented us with his background, highlighting some of his accomplishments and sharing his vision for Yamaha going forward. It will be interesting to watch as our new products now in development, undergo styling and design influences under his leadership. It appears to be quite a big deal as the new design group has taken over the main floor of the Yamaha corporate center and Yamaha president Yanagi has clearly vested authority for the project in Mr Nagaya.
To give you a better idea here is a short article on the man. I found another article that made reference to Kieth Richards, stating Dezi’s wardrobe and swagger had an uncanny resemblance.
Dezi Nagaya article
Posted @ 1:02 pm in Yamaha Insights
April 22, 2015
Fly by Wire
A funny thing happened to me last week on my way down to visit the boys in TRF. I prefer to fly from YYZ to Winnipeg then drive down across the line opposed to playing pinball through two US cities only to end up driving the same distance from Grand Forks. Anyway, I’m standing at the National car rental desk listening to the gentleman in front of me as he happily accepted the offered upgrade to a new Dodge Charger. My turn, after initialing the 27 ‘X’s declining all the up-charges… ‘and what kind of vehicles do you have today?’
‘Well sir we have a wee Fiat whatever, a cute little Chevy something or other and a new Ford Festival’. ‘Hmmm, would you have anything in men’s? Maybe a Dodge Charger or the like?’ ‘No sir, this is all we have left.’ crap!
I should have realized when I plugged the MP3 player in and was given fifty options to click before it would make any noise, that the Ford Festivity- powered by Microsoft – was the wrong choice. Once out of the parking lot I tried to turn up the tunes and I got a message on the screen that my ‘One Key’ volume limit had been reached. Huh? With ZZ Top barely audible in the back ground, I cruised onto the Perimeter Highway. Now maybe its just me, coming from TO and all, but I find driving in Winnipeg really frustrating. Folks there are apparently entitled to whatever lane they like with no regard to speed or flow and no one seems to give a rats behind. So I try to do a little deke around a couple of dicing locals and the stupid car gives me a little Microsoft chime and informs me, ‘My Key’ maximum speed has been attained. I’m doing 105kph in a 100kph zone and it has signed off, that’s it, that’s all you get.
Pulled off into the nearest Tim’s, dug out the owners manual and conclude that someone has programmed this thing for a 16 year old and given me the dummy key that can’t over-ride the system. Microsoft had taken over control of my car. I called National to voice my extreme displeasure and was politely informed it was what it was, so I angrily abused that little POS as best I could for the rest of my trip and swore I would never rent a blue oval, Microsoft enabled vehicle again. Two hours of driving across prairie back road, not another vehicle in sight, so flat and straight I could watch my dog run away from home for two days… at 105 kph pinned. I’m still mad.
This brings me to this week snowmobile related story. We have just released some new technology that will let a computer run your sled! We call it YCCT with D-Mode and although it is not a first for snowmobile. It is the first to bring this level of sophistication. Now it does beg the questions of ‘whats in this for me’ and ‘why would I want it?’
I wrote the following excerpt for our communication platform at YMC’s request and even though I am an old school guy who prefers the world without traction control and computers overriding my commands, I did come to appreciate some of the benefits through this exercise.
Posted @ 12:25 pm in Yamaha Insights
April 8, 2015
Still in triage at the office but want to share an article I have just received approval on from YMC. I was asked to sit with Sawabuchi San, one of our key engine guys and pick his brain. He had just completed an analysis of the ACE 900. We often do this just to compare what our competitors are doing to our own offerings but very seldom (re: never) do we go public with the information – until now 😉
The main purpose I had in mind when taking on this project was to develop an addendum to our ‘communication platform’ which is the bible of information we use to help educate our dealers and staff. It is a bit wordy but I thought maybe some of you would like to give it a read. The first paragraph is typical marketing cream cheese but it gets into some meat in short order…
It’s a large PDF and I wouldn’t recommend reading on a hand held device but then again, I’m old and half blind.
Engines Dont Just Happen
Posted @ 3:34 pm in Yamaha Insights