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Total Yamaha snowmobile production tops million vehicle mark

August 07, 1997

On August 6, 1997, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. celebrated the line-off of its one-millionth snowmobile. Beginning with the first model, the SL350 in 1968, it has taken 30 years to realize this achievement. The millionth model off the line was the 600 cc SRX600.

Yamaha snowmobiles are manufactured at Yamaha factories in Japan. The engines come from the Iwata 5th Factory located in Tenryu in Iwata City,Shizuoka Prefecture; painting, final assembly, and packing takes place at the Iwata 1st Factory in Shingai, Iwata City, Shizuoka Prefecture.

Today Yamaha supplies a full line-up of utility and leisure snowmobiles ranging from 250cc (18 horsepower) to 700cc (over 110 horsepower) in 14 models for the domestic market and 26 models for the overseas markets. Vehicles are marketed in 16 countries around the world including the big North American market. From engines to bodies, Yamaha is the only domestic snowmobile maker to wholly produce its own vehicles. As one of the foremost manufacturers of snowmobiles in the world, the Yamaha brand enjoys instant recognition in a wide range of markets.

Yamaha's snowmobile production reached the 100,000 unit mark in 1972, 200,000 in 1976, and the half million mark in 1983. Assembly and production take place at the Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.'s Iwata 1st Factory.

Total production


Production begins


100,000 units reached


200,000 units reached


500,000 units reached


1,000,000 units reached

Yamaha Snowmobiles in the Domestic and International Market

The worldwide demand for snowmobiles stands at about 260,000 units annually. Demand for snowmobiles comes primarily from Canada and the United States in North America and the Scandinavian countries of Northern Europe where they are widely used and depended on as a daily means of transportation in the lives of people in the snow country. They also perform vital jobs in the farming and forestry industries as well. In the winter months they are also used in a variety of ways as recreation vehicles.

At present, in the United States and Canada whose combined demand makes up 90 percent of the world snowmobile market, a network of some 13,000 total kilometers of trails specifically designated for snowmobile use spreads throughout the length and breadth of the snow country and family cruising on snowmobiles over long distances has become an established form of winter recreation.
Snowmobiles are also used for utilitarian jobs like looking after domesticated herds of reindeer or hauling lumber cut in winter. In forbidding winter environments that would otherwise be cut off to normal traffic, snowmobiles have a tremendous social significance and performance potential for helping get work done efficiently as well as creating newer and larger outdoor leisure possibilities.
In the two main North American markets, the U.S. has a total of 1.3 million registered snowmobiles and Canada about one million.

Beginning with the first model, the SL350, which was a prototype, (the first mass-produced model was the SL351), Yamaha has responded to the diverse demands of its customers and tailored its models to fit the needs of the countries where they live.

In response to the needs of an ever-growing market, new models have been introduced every year since 1975. To develop and produce snowmobiles in Shizuoka Prefecture which receives little snow, it was necessary to conduct market research and product development in North America where demand was biggest in order to adapt the products to the local market.
Toward this end, Yamaha opened ''R & D Minnesota,'' a snowmobile technologyresearch and development facility in the United States and its first testfacility in Hokkaido, Japan in 1972 which was later established as the''Yamaha Shibetsu Test Center'' in 1989. In this way the critical jobs ofproduct development, performance, and quality control are conducted jointlyin the U.S. and Japan in an integrated system.

The present Yamaha snowmobile line-up consists of vehicles in the 250cc to
700cc range. A new model which joins the line in 1997 is the top-of-the-line SRX700, sure to excite the hearts of snowmobile fans around the world.

Annual domestic demand for snowmobiles has grown to about 2,500 units, with Yamaha's share of the market at 70 percent (Yamaha figures). The leisure and sports fields account for 80 percent of the demand, with the remaining 20 percent going to vehicles in the utility field.

In the field of promotion too, Yamaha has been an active participant, establishing ''Snowmobile Lands'' in Hokkaido in 1987. Since then it has opened a number of snowmobile recreation areas around the country where one can experience the pleasures of snowmobiling. (Some of these are under the direct management of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.) With the close cooperation and concerted efforts of the owners to further promote the sport, there are presently 59 ''Snowmobile Lands'' being operated in various areas.

In 1988 Yamaha also organized its first ''Safe Snowmobile Riding Seminar.'' Throughout the country Yamaha is working actively to promote the spread of sound snowmobile enjoyment through instruction in correct riding and an appreciation for environmental preservation. Along with this, Yamaha has developed a snowmobile licensing system for beginners in addition to other activities designed to spread basic knowledge about snowmobiles.

Reliable Yamaha snowmobiles have continued to serve in some of the world's
most severe environments, such as winter research expeditions in Antarctica and expeditions like those of Japanese actress Masako Izumi to the North Pole and Shinji Kazama's motorcycle assault on the South Pole, where a Yamaha snowmobile served as a support vehicle.

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