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Yamaha Focusing on Developing Model Platforms

Mon, 22 Sep 2014

Following the success of its MT platform, Yamaha says it will continue to develop new models based on shared platforms, allowing for a choice of multiple models while reducing overall costs.

Speaking in a presentation on the company’s business operation, Yamaha Motor President Hiroyuki Yanagi reiterated the strategy of developing multiple models sharing the same engine and frame. Honda has followed a similar strategy with its NC models, seeing the platform evolve to include the CTX700 and NM4.

The strategy is fairly simple. Yamaha starts with developing an engine and a couple of frames and then adapts the platform to suit different functions and styles. Yamaha says it expects a 40% reduction in costs in 2015 through platform model aggregation. The strategy has also helped Yamaha streamline its network of parts suppliers, reducing the number of partner companies from 400 to 195.

In the last year and a half, Yamaha has introduced five brand new models under the MT name over the past year, starting with the MT-09 and MT-07 (or FZ-09 and FZ-07, as they are known in North America). Over in Europe, Yamaha has added a small-displacement MT-125 and the Sport Tracker and Street Rally variants of the MT-09, and we expect to see a new sport-touring model coming to North America for 2015 in the FJ-09.

Yamaha has also previously announced similar plans for a family of leaning multi-wheeler models based on the three-wheeled platform introduced with the Tricity.

Next on the agenda may Yamaha’s Max family of sporty scooters. In Europe, Yamaha currently offers the 530cc Tmax, the SMax (known in some markets as the Majesty S) and the XMax in various displacement options. A week after Yamaha’s business presentation, the company filed a new trademark application with Europe’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market for the X Max (adding a space after the “X”) as well as applications for CT Max, ST Max and XP Max.

The trademark applications offer few details except to say they apply to motorcycles, scooters and three-wheeled vehicles. The X Max should be fairly self-explanatory as Yamaha currently offers four X Max models in Europe. XP Max may be similar to, or possibly a replacement for the TMax, as Yamaha’s current 530cc TMax is also known as the XP530.

The CT Max may be a more off-road oriented version along the lines of Yamaha’s old CT1 and CT175 enduro models. The ST Max may be sport-touring variant on the shared platform.

Given the timing of the trademark applications, we may see some of these new models at the upcoming fall motorcycle shows, either Intermot in Cologne, Germany, or EICMA in Milan, Italy, though some may follow next year as 2016 models.

[Source: Yamaha, OHIM]


By Dennis Chung

See also: The Early History Of The Yamaha Champions Riding School, Josh Hayes Wins Fourth AMA Superbike Title, New BMC Air Filters For KTM 1290 SuperDuke, Yamaha FZ-09, Honda CBR250/CBR300R.