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Yamaha to move up entry into auto market

Kyodo

The president of Yamaha Motor Co. wants to bring forward its entry into the four-wheel auto market from the currently targeted 2020.

“We would like to act more speedily,” Hiroyuki Yanagi said in a group interview Tuesday at the company’s head office in Iwata, Shizuoka Prefecture.

Yamaha Motor, renowned for its motorcycle lineup, plans to decide by June the timing of the start of the sale of its four-wheel products, the location of its manufacturing base and the price of the cars after setting up an in-house division for its automobile business early next year, Yanagi said.

In November, Yamaha Motor said it will release a two-seat, 1,000cc gasoline engine-powered automobile and a compact electric vehicle by 2020.

“We can manufacture flexibly without conducting large-scale investments even in cases when the scale of production may be small,” Yanagi said.

Both will be priced competitively when compared with the corresponding models of existing carmakers, he said.

Yamaha Motor, which for years has supplied engines to Toyota Motor Corp., is renowned for its excellent engine technology.

“We have cleared large hurdles” when its experimental automobile models were tested, Yanagi said, suggesting the firm will be able to debut in the auto market within a short span of time.

But being successful in the market requires finding a good sales method and the company is now considering what marketing channels it should use down the track, though Yanagi said it is unlikely it will enter into a marketing tie-up with other automakers.

He also said the company will start marketing the Tricity — a three-wheel motorcycle — in Japan by the end of next year.

The company is planning to post sales of 100,000 units of the Tricity in Japan, Europe and Southeast Asia within three years of its release, he said.