Why Doesn’t Yamaha Make Cars?
Yamaha doesn’t make cars, but it was seriously interested in following rival Honda into the sphere. In the mid-aughts it debuted two separate concepts enthusiasts salivated over. The expectation was for Yamaha to be in the car biz by 2019 or 2020. It never happened.
Has Yamaha ever made cars?
Over the years Yamaha has toyed with car production and actually did produce a car of sorts. It had a hand in many head designs and assorted engine components for carmakers including Ford. In the early 1990s Yamaha created one of the most radical street cars ever, called the Yamaha OX99-11. It was a monster of a car, a supercar, really, with a 400 hp V12 engine and chassis taken directly from its Formula One effort.
In all, Yamaha built three. Almost priceless, one did pop up for sale in 2021 in Japan for $1.2 million. The company decided to do series production would mean an $800,000 price tag, which deterred further consideration. After Yamaha teased the OX99-11, there was no mention of building cars.
That is, until 2015 when it revealed the first of two concept cars, its Sports Ride concept coupe. Designer Gordon Murray got involved in the development. Yamaha used his iStream process to produce it, with technology coming, again, from Formula One.
Its small size, exciting looks, and lightweight of 1,650 lbs would have made this a screamer. Said to be about the same size as a Mazda Miata, it was the perfect car to dip their toe into. Production would not have needed to be huge, with Miatas at that time selling well under 10,000 units a year. But eventually, it ditched production dreams determining, as was the case with the OX99-11, it would be too expensive to produce.
The Cross Hub could carry two Yamaha bikes
But at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, it premiered a second concept called Cross Hub. The compact EV pickup tied in nicely with Yamaha’s core product as it could haul two motorcycles. Every Yamaha bike rider would have to own one. It perfectly combined its bikes with its desire to get into four-wheel production.
Design-wise it was a busy thing. The Targa bar continues down into the body visually chopping the truck in two. But there was something mighty compelling about it. A vehicle 180 degrees opposite of the Sports Ride, enthusiasts around the globe waited to hear plans for its production. They got their answer two years later at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show.
Is there a chance Yamaha might one day produce a car or truck?
A Yamaha spokesperson gave the news, “Cars do not feature in our long-term plans anymore. That is a decision taken by president Hidaka for the foreseeable future, as we could not see a way to develop either car to make it stand out from the competition, which is very strong.” Whatever happened to, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win?”
We get it, producing a car compounds companies exponentially, in spite of being in the business of selling vehicles. Distribution, budgets, development, sales, parts inventory, and on and on. It’s not like it was in the early 1960s when Honda stepped out of its comfort zone and began producing trucks and cars. But Honda’s reputation for engineering and sound quality preceded it, as does Yamaha’s. You can never say never but don’t be looking for any EV cars or trucks in Yamaha’s future, until, at least, it unleashes a concept at a future Tokyo Motor Show.