Yamaha unveils ‘next generation’ four strokes

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In the largest and broadest product introduction in its history, Yamaha Motor Corp. presented nine new outboard engines from 4 hp to 300 hp at a media event Monday in Chattanooga, Tenn.

“We believe by introducing products now, we’re going to catch the market in an upswing,” said Phil Dyskow, president of the marine group for Yamaha Motor Corp. “We’ve got to give customers a reason to buy and a reason to go to boat shows and to visit their dealer. If all we do is discount closeouts and excess products and repossessions, we aren’t doing anything to help restart the industry.”

Yamaha unveiled the engines to 43 journalists at The Chattanoogan Hotel. Seventeen boats, including vessels from Contender, EdgeWater, Pursuit and Grady-White, were available for testing. The engine builder has re-engineered its entire four-stroke V6 lineup, which includes the 225-, 250- and 300-hp outboards. In addition, a new mid-range engine, the F70, was unveiled, as well as two portable engines – the F4 and F6. For the inshore and freshwater bass boat markets, Yamaha announced new VMAX four-stroke models in 200-, 225- and 250-hp models.

All of the engines are touted as being lighter, more compact, more fuel-efficient and better performing than previous models. “This is the next generation of four-strokes,” said Dyskow. “You can see the direction we’re going – significantly better power-to-weight ratio, lighter weight, better fuel economy, better performance.”

The engines are lighter, but their displacements are greater. Current 225- and 250-hp models are built with 3.3-liter engines with a displacement of 204.6 cubic inches, while the new versions utilize 4.2-liter engines with 254-cubic-inch displacements. The new V6 300-hp engine replaces the V8 300, which used the same block as the 350-hp engine. The V6 version weighs 246 pounds less and is 17 percent more fuel-efficient than the V8 version, according to Dyskow. The new 225 and 250 weigh 558 pounds. The previous 225 came in at 583 pounds, and the 250 weighed 604 pounds.

The V6 models and the F70 will make their debut in February at the Miami International Boat Show, while the inshore models and the portables will hit the market in January, said Dyskow.

Yamaha delayed the introduction by a few months to allow dealers to sell existing product, he said. “Normally we do product introductions around July 1st when the program year kicks in,” said Dyskow. “We looked at what was happening in the marketplace and we saw that there was a fairly significant bubble of inventory that still existed. If we had launched the new product [in July], it would have made it very difficult for the dealers to sell what they already had. So we made a conscious decision to wait until early November.”

Yamaha also announced that the engines will have new patented shift dampeners that will eliminate “clunking” when the engine is shifted out of gear. The company also told journalists about its new Command Link Plus instrumentation, which features a five-inch color display and can monitor up to three engines on one screen. The motor company will also offer an optional anti-theft technology for the large engines. Plus, Yamaha plans to reintroduce the 3.3-liter 250-hp engine with mechanical controls. (All the high-horsepower models have digital, fly-by-wire controls.)

“This option is for boat owners who want to repower and it’s also ideal for price-point packages where we are trying to do everything we can to control expense of the equipment,” said Dyskow.

Dyskow said he believes the industry is over the hump.

“We’re expecting some modest growth in 2010, but then more sustained growth in 2011 and 2012,” he said in his presentation to journalists. “The most important piece of information for all of us is that Americans are participating in boating in record numbers. There are over 15 million registered powerboats in the U.S. Some of those are getting older and are going to have to be replaced. Sales in 2010 will be slightly up over 2009.”

But the makeup of sales will be different.

“In 2009, a significant portion of the retail sales were categorized by what I would call ‘distress sales,’ repossessions, closeouts,” he said. “Those will continue in 2010, but I do feel the significant portion of the overall retail sales next year will return to more traditional new-boat package sales.”

— Chris Landry

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Comments

11 comments on “Yamaha unveils ‘next generation’ four strokes

  1. Tom Marlowe

    All of this is good and very welcome. I agree with the sales forecast as well. What is missing is much needed attention to the middle of the line up; specifically the gap between a 115hp and a 150hp, and then the gap between the 150hp and the 200hp. I know R&D dollars must be spent where there is the greatest potential for return but these gaps are important in the mid-sized salt water market. I hope it’s next in line.

  2. Tim Griffin

    I’ve always been a Yamaha fan an plan to repower my old 21 Mako soon but the weight of a V6 four stroke is just too much.  With my current Merc 225 whichis 100 pounds lighter the scupers are underwater when I stand near the transom.  Right now the only solution that I see is the Suzuki 175.  A 150 I’m afraid will be underpowered and that is the only option above 150 hp that is a 4 cylinder.

  3. Randy Morris

    The proof was in the test ride—- I have been running  bass boats since 1974 and I can tell you it takes a lot to impress me — I am not only impressed I ordered these motors for both myself and for my dealership to sell!!

  4. boatman

    Tim- I would recommend looking into the Etec.  I have a 175 and love it.  Have not had a problem in the 2 years I have had it.

  5. Chris Wachter

    You hit it right on the head Tom. For our boats we need a 130, a 175 and a 4 cylinder 200. Hope we see them soon

  6. Jason Gilpatric

    This ought to make those that purchased the 300 hp. V8 feel real good!  Guess they wouldn’t have sold as many if it was a highly fuel efficient light weight V6??
    “The V6 version weighs 246 pounds less and is 17 percent more fuel-efficient than the V8 version, according to Dyskow.”

  7. Industry Worker

    Yea Jason Gilpatric,
    All companies should stop trying to develop better products, because it might offend customers who bought an older product.
    If that were the case we would all still be driving model T’s.

  8. Capt Rufus Wakeman

    I want to see the 130′s get re-done. I have an old flats boat that has an old 2 stroke 130 and its the perfect engine. Its a 22 year old engine that is the right weight and it just sits the boat right. Any more weight will drown the stern ……….Like I said I want to see the mid-sizes get re-done.
    Long live YAMADOGS

  9. Muddywater

    This is pure genius on Yamaha’s part and a step in the right direction.  I wish some of the other manufacturers would have planned ahead as well and come up with lighter 4-strokes.  I also would love to see lighter 4-strokes in the 130-200 range as I cannot use a 4-stroke unless they make a lighter 150, 175 or 200.  If Yammy pulls off something like this across their entire lineup, the competition is toast.

  10. Eli S.

    So am I correct in thinking that none of the powerful new models are out yet?  Or, if they’re available, they just came out at the Miami Int’l boat show (when was that anyway)?  The reason I ask is because I’m trying to figure out maintenace costs for a brand new outboard model and I can’t find any of the model numbers on most supplier sites.  For example:
    http://www.crowleymarine.com/yamaha-outboard/parts/11500532.cfm
    In any case, like the other commenters I think this is a great move on Yamaha’s part and will probably help the industry in some way, if only to bring attention to the fact that marine motors can be efficient, lightweight and powerful, saving on operational costs (and hopefully making them easier and cheaper to maintain).

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