Yamaha Motor Company

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Yamaha Motor Company, Limited
Type Public
Industry Automotive
Founded July 1, 1955
Headquarters Iwata, Shizuoka, Japan
Area served Global
Key people Hiroyuki Yanagi, President & Representative Director
Products Motorcycles, Commuter Vehicles & Scooters, Recreational Vehicles, Boats, Marine Engines, Snowmobiles, Personal Watercraft, Electrically Power Assisted Bicycles, Automobile Engines, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Golf Cars, Power Products, Pools, Compact Industrial Robots, Wheelchairs, Parts including Apparel, Helmets
Employees 53,958 (as of December 31, 2012)
Subsidiaries Minarelli
Website Yamaha Motor Global

Yamaha Motor Company Limited (ヤマハ発動機株式会社 Yamaha Hatsudōki KK), is a Japanese manufacturer of motorcycles, marine products such as boats and outboard motors, and other motorized products. The company was established in 1955 upon separation from Yamaha Corporation, and is headquartered in Iwata, Shizuoka, Japan. Yamaha Motor conducts global development, production and marketing operations through 109 consolidated subsidiaries as of 2012.

Led by Genichi Kawakami, the company’s first president, Yamaha Motor began production of its first product, the YA-1, in 1955. The 125cc motorcycle won the 3rd Mount Fuji Ascent Race in its class, and launched a legacy by which the company continues to pursue motorsports as a means to accelerate development.

Yamaha Motor’s current lineup of products includes motorcycles, scooters, electrically power assisted bicycles, boats, sail boats, personal watercrafts, pools, utility boats, fishing boats, outboard motors, 4-wheel ATVs, recreational off-highway vehicles, racing kart engines, golf cars, multi-purpose engines, generators, water pumps, snowmobiles, small-sized snow throwers, automobile engines, surface mounters, intelligent machinery, industrial-use unmanned helicopters, electrical power units for wheelchairs and helmets. The company is also involved in the import and sales of various types of products, development of tourist businesses and management of leisure, recreational facilities and related services.

Yamaha Motor divisions[edit]

Key products[edit]


Yamaha XS650 vertical-twin

Yamaha's first motorcycle was the 1 YA-1, which was a copy of the German DKW RT125, and had a 125 cc, single-cylinder two-stroke engine. It was launched in February 1955 and the bike won its first race, the Mount Fuji Ascent Race, in July 1955.[3] Yamaha continued producing two-stroke engines until it launched the XS-1 in 1969, with a 650 cc two-cylinder four-stroke engine, using expertise that it gained doing engine development work for Toyota. In 1998 Yamaha marketed a revolutionary 1000cc four cylinder road bike called the YZF 'R1', this model introduced a new style of gearbox design which shortened the overall length of the motor/gearbox case, thereby allowing a more compact unit. This, in turn allowed the motor to be placed in the frame far enough forward to compliment good handling in a short wheel-based frame, a revolutionary step forward in motorcycle design[4] In 1979, the XT500 won the first Paris-Dakar Rally.[5]

In 1995, Yamaha announced the creation of Star Motorcycles, a new brand name for its cruiser series of motorcycles in the American market. In other markets, Star motorcycles are sold under the Yamaha brand.

In 2007, Yamaha officially established the Philippine operations and distributes Yamaha motorcycles under the corporate name of Yamaha Motor Philippines, Inc.

Today, Yamaha produces scooters from 50 to 500 cc, and a range of motorcycles from 50 to 1,900 cc, including cruiser, sport touring, sport, dual-sport, and off-road.


Two-time Grand Championship winner Kenny Roberts at the 1981 German Grand Prix.

In motorcycle racing Yamaha has won 36 world championships, including 3 in MotoGP and 9 in the preceding 500 cc two-stroke class, and 1 in World Superbike. Yamaha riders include Giacomo Agostini, Bob Hannah, Heikki Mikkola, Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Jeremy McGrath, Stefan Merriman, Phil Read, Chad Reed, Ben Spies, and currently Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.

The Yamaha YZ450F won the AMA Supercross Championship two years in a row, in 2008 with Chad Reed, and 2009 James Stewart. Yamaha was the first to build a production monoshock motocross bike (1975 for 250 and 400, 1976 for 125) and one of the first to have a water-cooled motocross production bike (1977 in works bikes, 1981 in off-the-shelf bikes).

Since 1962, Yamaha made production road racing Grand Prix motorcycles that any licensed road racer could purchase. In 1970, non-factory privateer teams dominated the 250 cc World Championship with Great Britain's Rodney Gould winning the title on a Yamaha TD2.

Yamaha also sponsors several professional ATV riders in several areas of racing, such as cross country racing and motocross. Yamaha has had success in cross country with their YFZ450, ridden by Bill Ballance, winning 9 straight titles since 2000. Yamaha's other major rider, Traci Cecco, has ridden the YFZ450 to 7 titles, with the first in 2000. In ATV motocross, Yamaha has had success with Dustin Nelson and Pat Brown, both who race the YFZ450. Pat Brown's best season was a 3rd place title in 2007, while Nelson has had two 1st place titles in the Yamaha/ITP Quadcross, one in 2006 and the other in 2008.

Yamaha produced Formula One engines from 1989 to 1997, initially for the Zakspeed team, in 1991 for the Brabham BT60Y, in 1992 for the Jordan 192, from 1993 to 1996 for Tyrrell, and in 1997 for the Arrows A18. These never won a race, but drivers including Damon Hill, Ukyo Katayama, Mark Blundell and Andrea de Cesaris scored some acceptable results with them.

Automobile engines[edit]

Yamaha-built DOHC V6 Ford Taurus SHO engine

Yamaha has built engines for other manufacturers' vehicles beginning with the development and production of the Toyota 2000GT (1967) with the Toyota Motor Corporation. Also, the cylinder head from the Toyota 4A-GE engine was developed by Yamaha Motor Corporation and was built at Toyota's Shimayama plant alongside the 4A and 2A engines. [6] All performance-oriented cylinder heads on Toyota/Lexus engines were designed and/or built by Yamaha, examples are the 1LR-GUE engine found on the 2010-2012 Lexus LFA, the 2UR-GSE found in Lexus ISF, and the 2ZZ-GE engine found on the 1999-2006 Toyota Celica GT-S and etc, name a high performance Toyota engine, Yamaha is involved. In 1984, executives of the Yamaha Motor Corporation signed a contract with the Ford Motor Company to develop, produce, and supply compact 60° 3.0 Liter DOHC V6 engines for transverse application for the 1989–'95 Ford Taurus SHO.[7][8] From 1993 to 1995, the SHO engine was produced in 3.0 and 3.2 Liter versions. Yamaha jointly designed the 3.4 Liter DOHC V-8 engine with Ford for the 1996–'99 SHO. Since 2005 Yamaha produces a 4.4 Liter V8 for Volvo. The B8444S engines are used in the XC90 and S80 models. British sportscar maker Noble also uses a bi-turbo version of the Volvo V8 in their M600.

Yamaha also tunes engines for other manufacturers, Toyota being one of them. Yamaha logos are, for instance, found on the Toyota S engines.[9]


Yamaha Phazer snowmobile

In 2010, Yamaha was the only snowmobile manufacturer to use four-stroke engines across its range.[10] In Canada though, there are still three models that Yamaha manufactures that are still two-stroke. They are the Bravo, VK 540 and the Venture XL. Yamaha had introduced four-strokes to their line-up in 2003, and the line-up became four-stroke based for model year 2005. The RX-1, released in 2003, was the first performance-oriented four-stroke snowmobile on the market. It was not, however, the first modern four-stroke snowmobile produced. That honor belongs to Arctic Cat for their Yellowstone Special, released in 2000, which was designed as a rental sled that could meet Yellowstone National Park's stringent emission requirement. However, Yamaha received much criticism for its weight disadvantage when compared to similar two-strokes, despite its fuel economy and low-range torque. Yamaha is now on the cutting edge of four-stroke technology with the introducing of their 80FI engine, which is equipped on the Phazer and Venture Lite models. This engine has one of the highest specific output of any four-stroke in production, with 160 HP/L, Yamaha achieves this even without the use of a forced induction system. Yamaha is also a key player in the "four-stroke wars", which are a series of advertisements from opponent Ski-Doo, who claim their E-tec and power-tec equipped two-strokes are still cleaner and more efficient than four-strokes, while Yamaha still claims the four-strokes are cleaner. Yamaha also broke a multi-year absence from sno-cross in the winter of 2006/2007 with their introduction of a factory race team headed by former Arctic Cat racer Robbie Malinoski.

Yamaha was the first brand to win with a 4-stroke in a professional snowcross race. This happened in 2006 at the WPSA snow cross championship.

Current models[edit]

  • Apex, Apex SE, Apex XTX
  • SR Viper RTX DX, SR Viper LTX DX, SR Viper S-TX DX, SR Viper MTX 153, SR Viper RTX SE, SR Viper LTX SE, SR Viper XTX SE, SR Viper MTX 153 SE, SR Viper MTX 162 SE, SR Viper RTX LE, SR Viper LTX LE, SR Viper XTX LE, SR Viper MTX 162 LE
  • RS Vector, RS Vector LTX
  • RS Venture, RS Venture GT, RS Venture TF
  • RS Viking Professional
  • Phazer RTX, Phazer XTX, Phazer MTX
  • Venture MP
  • SRX 120

All-terrain vehicles (ATV) vehicles[edit]

  • BW80/200/350
  • YFZ450
  • Raptor 80/250/350/660/700R
  • Badger 80
  • Blaster 200
  • Timberwolf 250
  • Banshee 350
  • Warrior 350
  • Bruin 350
  • Kodiak 400/450
  • Grizzly 80/125/350/400/450/550/600/660/700
  • Big Bear 350/400
  • Wolverine 350/450
  • Tri-Zinger 60
  • Tri-Moto 125/175/200/225
  • Yamahauler 200
  • Tri-Z 250

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.yamaha-motor.com/outboard/products/lifestylehome/home.aspx
  2. ^ "Intelligent Machinery - Company information". Yamaha Motor. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  3. ^ Alexander, Jeffrey W. (2009). Japan's Motorcycle Wars: An Industry History. UBC Press. pp. 152–153. ISBN 978-0-7748-1454-6. 
  4. ^ Vandenheuvel, Cornelis (1997). Pictorial history of Japanese motorcycles. MBI Publishing Company. pp. 84–90. ISBN 978-1-870979-97-9. 
  5. ^ "Dakar Retrospective 1979–2007". Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  6. ^ All About the Toyota Twin Cam (2nd ed.), Tokyo, Japan: Toyota Motor Company, 1984, p. 24, retrieved 2012-12-06 
  7. ^ "SHO n Tell". Jon Mikelonis and Matt Wilder. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  8. ^ Ford Motor Company (2007-07-19). 1989 Ford Taurus SHO commercial. Ford Motor Company. 
  9. ^ "Toyota Twin Cam Article". Toysport.com. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  10. ^ 2010 Yamaha Snowmobile brochure

External links[edit]