Yamaha making cars for Europe

Yamaha president Hiroyuki Yanagi with 2013 commuter car concept

Japanese motorcycle giant Yamaha is planning to make small cars for the European market from 2019.

It’s not such a big step for the company as the vehicles will feature 1000cc motorcycle engines.

Many car companies started as motorcycle manufacturers and some still make cars and bikes, but it is unusual for car makers to make motorcycles.

However, British sportscar makers Caterham and Lotus are expanding into motorcycles and Toyota plans to make a three-wheeled leaning car.

Toyota iRoad leaning three-wheeler
Toyota iRoad leaning three-wheeler

Yamaha is hoping to cash in on the rising demand in Europe for energy-efficient vehicles and will supply the engine and outsource much of the bodywork.

Yamaha's V12 OX99-11 supercar concept
Yamaha’s V12 OX99-11 supercar concept

The company has been thinking about four wheels for some time. In the early ‘90s, Yamaha built three V12-powered OX99-11 supercar concepts and in 2013 exhibited a prototype 1000cc engine car and an electric-car battery at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Yamaha has also supplied Toyota with more than three million car engines since the 1960s, supplied Ford with various V6 and V8 engines since 1980 and has produced a V8 for Volvo since 2005. British sportscar maker Noble also uses a bi-turbo version of the Volvo V8 in their M600.

Yamaha engine in 1991 Ford Taurus
Yamaha engine in 1991 Ford Taurus

While Europe is the first market for Yamaha cars, the company is also considering moving into “emerging  markets” such as South East Asia, India and South America.

There is no word about Yamaha introducing cars into established markets such as Australia or the United states.

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