Yamaha to Exit Snowmobile Market | Mountain Sledder
June 28th, 2023

Yamaha to Exit Snowmobile Market

Yamaha has announced a decision to withdraw from the snowmobile business within the next two years.

The decision has been made by Yamaha Co., Ltd Japan (YMC) to eventually cut snowmobiles from its product lineup and focus instead on higher volume and growth markets.

The manufacturer has announced that while Yamaha Europe will cease production of snowmobiles after model year 2024, in North America, Yamaha with continue production through model year 2025.

Yamaha Exit Snowmobile Market

Yamaha to Exit Snowmobile Market

Meanwhile, the decision will have no impact on sales and service of model year 2024 snowmobiles. Production of those models is already locked in, and the majority of MY2024 Yamaha snowmobiles for North America have already been produced by late June 2023 according to Yamaha Motor Canada, for delivery on time this fall.

The main factors leading to the decision by Yamaha Japan include the mature state of the snowmobile business and a desire to focus on markets with greater sales volume and growth potential.

Including a prior decision to exit the European snowmobile market after MY2024, and alongside the suspension of exports to Russia, the case for the Yamaha Snowmobiles North America division to solely carry the volume necessary for production was not favourable.

Snowmobiles has been a low volume and specialized market for the powersports manufacturing giant that builds many other product lines including motorcycles, off-road and watersports vehicles and power equipment.

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Yamaha's MY2024 Mountain Max 2-stroke mountain sled

Inventory and Supply Agreement

The timing as it pertains to inventory levels is positive at least, as Yamaha Motor Canada reports a good position after an inventory correction in 2018 and a sales bump during the pandemic that helped sell through. Along with the decision to sell snowmobiles primarily with a spring sales model, this has put the manufacturer in a good place to meet demand for its next two model year sleds without amassing any excess vehicle inventory prior to its exit.

Yamaha will continue its supply agreement with Arctic Cat in the near term, and executives at Textron Specialized Vehicles, the owner of Arctic Cat, have been made aware of the decision. Yamaha engines will continue to power select vehicles produced by Textron-owned brands for an unspecified duration at least.

Yamaha Exits Snowmobile Business _-3

Impact on the Company, Dealership Network and Customers

For Yamaha Motor Canada, which heads up the North America Snowmobiles division, the snowmobile segment has been steady and worthwhile, and one that will not easily be replaced by other product lines in the winter season at least.

Over the course of the next 24 to 26 months, Yamaha will work with each of its individual dealers in the transition to try to fill the gap left by snowmobiles with existing product groups and expansion of new opportunities.

In particular, YMC sees the off-road market of ATV and SxS vehicles—where it had once been a market leader—as a market with potential for growth for the brand and its dealers.

The water powersports market, including Waverunner and Outboard product lines, is another market in which YMC will be making investments in order to pursue additional growth and sales volume.

In support of its loyal customers moving forward, the manufacturer will honour its factory and extended warranties, and parts and service will continue to be made available for an unspecified number of years to come.

Yamaha Exit Snowmobile Market

Yamaha to Exit Snowmobile Market

At the time of the announcement, Yamaha says it has no future plans to return to the snowmobile business.

Looking back, it was in 1968 that Yamaha released its first snowmobile, the SL350, after three years of development.

The 1968 Yamaha SL350.

Since that initial offering, Yamaha has gone on to build a strong following with releases such as its sweet sounding 2-stroke triple 700, and later, a bulletproof and eventually turbo-ready Genesis family of 4-stroke engines that powered the custom mod chute-slaying era in the new millennium.

Competition is what drives innovation and losing the development resources of a big player like Yamaha is a heavy blow to the industry and the legacy of snowmobiling.

It will be a sad day indeed for Yamaha’s loyal customers and snowmobile enthusiasts in general when the last Yamaha sled rolls off the production line for model year 2025.

The good news is: Until that day comes, riders will still have the opportunity to own a piece of snowmobiling history and the best snowmobile Yamaha has ever produced.


– MS


For more details, see:

Yamaha Motor Canada FAQ regarding the announcement