More control of Yamaha’s global decision-making related to snowmobiling is being shifted to the brand’s Yamaha North America Snowmobile Division offices in Ontario. The move will result in less influence from the Japanese Yamaha headquarters and also an eventual closing of the brand’s R&D Center in Wisconsin – Yamaha announced in a press release on July 15.
The press release – posted in its entirety below – cites a desire to streamline operations of the snow group while also de-centralizing some of the personnel who currently report to the Minocqua, Wisconsin, facility.
In a followup email, Yamaha National Marketing Manager Bryan Hudgin confirmed that the Wisconsin R&D center – long the hub of snowmobile development and testing for the brand – “will undergo a gradual winding down of operations” that would conclude at the end of the first quarter of 2022. “Some of these functions will move to Canada, but we aim to maintain U.S.-based personnel. They simply wouldn’t be working at the actual facility,” he said.
Meanwhile, folks from the Japan-based parent Yamaha Motor Company (YMC) who had previously worked on snowmobile products here in North America (often times on assignment to Minocqua) will now either be based out of the Toronto-area office or will work remotely throughout Canada and the U.S., we were told.
“The North American Snowmobile Division will take on more authority and decision-making with respect to the product group and future direction,” Hudgin said.
Many on the Internet who have long predicted a Yamaha exit from the snowmobile market should take note that the press release stated that Yamaha “will continue working with OEM suppliers to invest in the snowmobile industry and explore opportunities to expand its presence in the supply of durable and reliable Yamaha powerplants” and said the brand “looks forward to the launch of the 2023 models” after particularly robust spring orders this past year.
Here’s that Yamaha press release.
YAMAHA MOTOR ANNOUNCES TRANSFER OF RESPONSIBILITIES TO NORTH AMERICAN SNOWMOBILE DIVISION
July 15, 2021 – Yamaha Motor Co., LTD. has announced that additional snowmobile product line responsibilities will be transferred to the Yamaha North American Snowmobile Division, effective July 15, 2021.
The majority of functions handled by Japan’s Yamaha Motor Co., LTD. and its Research & Design Facility in Wisconsin will now be undertaken by Yamaha’s North American Snowmobile Division, offering further in-market calibration, maneuverability and efficiency.
The objective is to streamline Yamaha’s snowmobile business operations and fully utilize the flexibility offered by technology and remote work. As the Wisconsin facility transitions, key personnel are invited to remain with the company, working remotely across the US and Canada as part of the North American Division.
“I’m proud of the progress the North American Snowmobile Division has made since our inception in 2014. Yamaha Motor Co., LTD. has witnessed our growth and is now entrusting us with the complete management of the global snowmobile business,” commented Peter Smallman-Tew, Team Leader for the North American Snowmobile Division. “The last year and a half has shown that business can and will need to adapt to a remote working model. We will have the appropriate people in the right places – the hotbeds of the snowmobile market – to ensure our future success.”
The Yamaha North American Snowmobile Division will continue working with OEM suppliers to invest in the snowmobile industry and explore opportunities to expand its presence in the supply of durable and reliable Yamaha power plants.
Yamaha is preparing for a busy and exciting 2021/22 season after a record-breaking Spring Power Surge early deposit program, and looks forward to the launch of the 2023 models.