Yamaha Motor Announces Termination of Snowmobile Line After 55 Years

A little over a week ago, The Watercraft Journal delivered an incredibly detailed review of Yamaha Motor’s “Environmental Plan 2050”; a treatise outlining the corporation’s intention to radically reduce its total emissions – both from manufacturing and its product line – until reaching full carbon neutrality by 2050.

The austere measures needed to be taken included explorations into alternative fuel sources as well as radically revamping its naturally-aspirated 4-stroke marine engines for optimal efficiency and reducing overall brand-wide emissions at a minimum of 35% within the next 5-to-6 years.

Although not explicitly stated in the “2050 Plan”, The Watercraft Journal speculated that Yamaha would opt to follow the path laid out by domestic automakers, and wholly discontinue its large displacement, supercharged offerings (ie. SVHO) before the 2030 cut-off date.

Performance muscle car manufacturers Chevrolet and Dodge have both announced terminations of their highest-output V8 engine offerings. While killing the supercharged SVHO remains entirely speculative, we do have new evidence that drastic measures have already been made by the motorsports manufacturer:

Announced yesterday, June 28th, 2023, Yamaha Motor Co. detailed that it will be discontinuing its snowmobile division after 55 years. Contrary to claims of declining sales, this decision is very likely due to its commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as per the plan’s introductory statement.

To date, the global snowmobile market is incredibly robust far more than say, the personal watercraft market. The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) stated, “there were 124,769 snowmobiles sold worldwide; 53,553 were sold in the US and 48,252 were sold in Canada” in 2023 alone.

“There are 1.26 million registered snowmobiles in the US and over 601,000 registered snowmobiles in Canada,” continues the ISMA’s statistics page. Compared to personal watercraft, snowmobiling is an incredibly lucrative market, accounting for $26 billion annually in United States; $9.3 billion in Canada; and $4 billion in Europe.

Compared to the sub-$1 billion that the global PWC industry generates annually, the choice to drop snowmobiles is obvious to the observer not to be a matter of declining sales (despite a 9.5% drop in total sales in 2023 from 2022 per SnowGoer.com) but Yamaha’s very public commitment to adhering to globalist environmental policies.

Here’s the entire press release from Yamaha’s newsroom:
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. today announces plans for an eventual withdrawal of the snowmobile business. The Company plans to end sales of snowmobiles in Japan through the 2022 model year*, in Europe through the 2024 model year, and in North America through the 2025 model year.

1. History of the Business and Reasons for Withdrawal
In 1968, Yamaha released its first snowmobile, the SL350, by applying small engine technology which it developed in the motorcycle business. Over the past 55 years, Yamaha developed snowmobiles for sports, leisure, and business use as a means of transportation mainly in snowy areas found in North America and Europe.

Yamaha also aimed to grow the business through the early introduction of environmentally-friendly 4-stroke models and alliances with other companies. However, Yamaha has concluded it will be difficult to continue a sustainable business in the snowmobile market. Going forward, Yamaha will concentrate management resources on current business activities and new growth markets.

2. Future Actions
Yamaha will ensure parts availability, service, and related customer satisfaction now and after the snowmobile final production run occurs.
Production of the recently introduced 2024 models is underway and scheduled for fall delivery. Yamaha distributors will be working closely with dealers to minimize impact and best position their business over the next 12 – 36 months.

3. Impact on Business Performance
Due to the exit schedule outlined above, the effect on consolidated business results will be minor.

Yamaha snowmobile dealers and customers throughout the world have proven to be among the most passionate. Yamaha thanks and cherishes all for their years of loyalty and shared enjoyment of this special winter pastime.

*The Japanese market currently continues to sell only in stock.

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Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – kevin.shaw@shawgroupmedia.com Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

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