Last year was a big year for Yamaha, as, in what was the largest and broadest product introduction in its history, the engine manufacturer introduced a whopping total of nine brand-new outboard engines from 4hp to 300hp at its 2010 media event in Chattanooga, Tenn.
For those who are paying attention, this is not much of a surprise, but Yamaha is continuing to make strides in the marine engine market that send ripples across the entire industry. Founded July 1, 1955, Yamaha Motor Company was created to dominate the markets of boats, snowmobiles, personal watercraft, all-terrain vehicles and most importantly, outboard motors, which Yamaha began to produce in 1960.
Today, Yamaha offers over 40 models of outboard engines, many of which are well-loved and known among pontoon and deck boat owners.
Boaters obsessed with speed watched the Yamaha Marine Group announce new "mechanical" F200 and F225 outboard models within its 3.3-liter V6 outboard family earlier this year. These newly redesigned models now use the same powerhead that drives the legendary 3.3-liter V6 F250.
"It's our goal to continue to evolve our 3.3-liter V6 outboards to meet the needs of boaters who prefer large, powerful outboards that use mechanical control boxes," said Yamaha Marine Group President Ben Speciale. "The new F200 and F225 are extremely powerful and now have great low- and mid-range punch. They also provide even more flexibility for re-powers or applications in which drive-by-wire technology is not desired."
The flywheel on the new F200 and F225 has a rubber dampener to reduce engine vibration, and Shift Dampener System (SDS) propellers are also now available for these new outboards. The result is a much smoother, quieter boating experience.
"The new 3.3L F200/225 has better mid-range torque which is really going to be great for the larger pontoons that are becoming more popular with boaters today," said Dale Barnes, division manager, marketing, for the Yamaha Marine Group.
Both the new 3.3L F200 and F225 are now equipped with Variable Camshaft Timing (VCT), which allows the Engine Control Module to direct the Variable Camshaft Actuator to advance and retard camshaft timing based on the engine rpm. This increases the intake and exhaust efficiency in the low- and mid-rpm ranges. The result is an increase in torque in the 2,000 to 3,500 RPM range, making these new outboards even more powerful than their predecessors.
The new 3.3L F200 and F225 outboards have a bold new look that complements the latest boat designs and brings Yamaha's entire line together.
Finally, to achieve greater fuel efficiency, the new F200 and F225 models have a single throttle valve that precisely controls the airflow through the long tube intake tracks. In addition, the long tube intake tracks are tuned to increase airflow, which also boosts low- and mid-range torque, giving the outboards better acceleration.
Yamaha Marine Group also launched a newly redesigned F115 outboard that is both lighter and more efficient than its predecessor last spring. Based on the venerable DOHC in-line, four-cylinder 16-valve engine that set the standard for reliability and durability, the redesigned F115 also features new technologies that make this outboard a true category leader.
"The technology behind the new F115 makes it more responsive and improves the overall performance of the outboard," Speciale said. "This is an amazingly versatile, in-line fourstroke outboard that's just right for applications ranging from pontoons to bay boats."
The induction on the new F115 features a new, long-track intake system with a single throttle valve and a resonator to improve throttle response. To achieve improved performance and increased fuel efficiency, the F115's combustion chambers have been re-shaped to increase combustion efficiency. In addition, an ECM controlled electronic fuel injection system provides more precise control of the combustion process.
"Both the F200/225 and F115 are characterized by Yamaha's signature reliability and are lighter, more efficient and exhibit improved overall performance when compared to their predecessors," Barnes said.
A new knock sensor in the ECM has also been added to the new F115 to provide protection from knocking as well as improved combustion efficiency. This feature also helps assure maximum performance and acceleration.
The F115 incorporates the latest ancillary designs and new materials that help the outboard achieve a lighter weight, which also ultimately translates to even greater efficiency.
The cowl of the new F115 has also been redesigned to improve air intake, draining abilities and restriction from water intrusion. This improves the outboard's ability to resist corrosion.
Finally, the redesigned F115 is now compatible with Yamaha's Command Link gauges as well as its Y-COP immobilizer system, two rigging components that make this new outboard even more technologically advanced.
Looking Back, Looking Forward
One area Yamaha prides itself on is making its customers happy in the long term.
"We are distinctly proud of our 95+ Customer Satisfaction Index scores we have achieved and maintained for the last five years," Barnes said. "These CSI scores are derived from initial customer surveys completed immediately after each purchase as well secondary surveys completed a few months into ownership."
And on the horizon, Yamaha is dedicated to continuing to deliver the highest quality, most technologically advanced products in the industry.
"We strive to continue our innovative approach with the customer always top-of-mind, and we will continue to deliver products exhibiting features and benefits that make the boating experience more fun and enjoyable for the boater," Barnes said.
Yamaha is also increasingly taking advantage of the benefits of technology, as last April they launched mobile versions of the web pages for its V MAX SHO (www.discovervmaxsho.com) and V6 Offshore (www.discoverv6offshore.com) engines.
"Our research tells us that a growing number of Yamaha outboard customers are using smart phones," said Frank Wilhelm, Yamaha Marine Group advertising manager. "They are using mobile digital devices to access the existing V MAX SHO and V6 Offshore websites. We wanted to make sure we are providing the best service possible for them."
With such an eye on progress and a dedication to its customer base, Yamaha is poised to take on all comers and be a force in the marine outboard market for years to come.
Yamaha Marine products are marketed throughout the United States and around the world. Yamaha Marine Group, based in Kennesaw, Ga., supports its 2,000 U.S. dealers and OEM partners with marketing, training and parts for Yamaha's full line of products and strives to be the industry leader in reliability, technology and customer service. Yamaha Marine is the only outboard brand to have earned NMMA's C.S.I. Customer Satisfaction Index award every year since its inception. Visit www.yamahaoutboards.com.