Yamaha, which for quite some time was tipped to be looking into building cars in addition to its other operations, has reportedly pulled the plug on its plans to enter the automotive market.
In 2013 and 2015, the motorcycle manufacturer unveiled the Motiv and Sports Ride Concept cars based on Gordon Murray’s iStream manufacturing system. Neither were confirmed for production at their respective launches, although there was hope that they would see the light of day, particularly the Sports Ride Concept.
Speaking with Autocar at the ongoing Tokyo Motor Show, however, Yamaha spokesman Naoto Horie said the company would rather explore more bike-like mobility concepts if it is to expand beyond its core business of building motorcycles.
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"Cars do not feature in our long-term plans anymore," Horie said. "That is a decision taken by President Hidaka for the foreseeable future, as we could not see a way to develop either car to make it stand out from the competition, which is very strong. The sports car in particular had great appeal for us as enthusiasts, but the marketplace is particularly difficult. We now see other opportunities.”
Last year, Gordon Murray previewed the latest version of his iStream manufacturing system dubbed Superlight. This new system combines a high-strength aluminum frame with carbon fiber composite panels that is said to offer greater safety, lower emissions, improved handling, and better durability all while weighing 50 per cent less than a standard stamped-metal body. The TVR Griffith will be the first production car to implement this new architecture.
The thought of Yamaha venturing into the world of lightweight sports cars excited many. It’s a shame it won’t come to fruition.