A flurry of press releases issued by Yamaha Motor Japan just before Christmas paints a picture of a company in turmoil. It's all terribly convoluted, so we'll try and simplify things with a timeline.
December 2005: Despite a year of record profits, newly appointed Yamaha Motor President and CEO Takashi Kajikawa has ominous words for The London Times. He says, "It's not like the old days when young Japanese boys joined biker gangs. It wasn't so good for the public image but it was good for sales. Nowadays, their mothers think it's too dangerous and forbid their sons to buy bikes. And anyway, youngsters would prefer to stay in and play on their computers."
February 6, 2007: Yamaha Motor announces that it has broken all records for net sales, operating income, recurring profit and net income during 2006. Net income was $834 million, a 20.6 percent improvement over 2005.
February 12, 2009: Net income is reported to have fallen 97.4 percent to just $20.5 million.
October 26, 2009: Takashi Kawjikawa resigns as President and CEO and assumes role as Director. Tsuneji Togami, the former Chairman and Director takes over as President and CEO.
November 4, 2009: Yamaha Motor announces net income for the first nine months of 2009 has fallen $2.1 billion over the same period during the previous year after a net loss of $1.75 billion. Motorcycle sales are down 26.6 percent over the same period during the previous year, marine product sales are down 40.2 percent, power product sales are down 55 percent, other products (including car engines) are down 37.6 percent.
November 12, 2009: Yamaha reshuffles 15 of its Directors and Executives.
November 16, 2009: Yamaha announces it will no longer employ "ringers" on its rugby team -- a major source of pride for the company -- effective April, 2010 the team will only be made up of full-time Yamaha employees.
December 4, 2009: Takaaki Kimura is appointed Acting President and CEO after Tsuneji Togami is hospitalized. The move is described as "temporary."
December 14, 2009: Four senior executives are re-shuffled
December 22, 2009: Four Directors, 11 Executive Officers and 40 executives change job titles. Seven group companies, including Yamaha Motor Canada, get new Presidents.
December 22, 2009: It's announced that, effective March 25, 2010, Tsuneji Togami will resign as Acting President and CEO and current Senior Executive Officer Hiroyuki Yanagi will succeed him as the company's leader. Additionally, four company directors, including former President and CEO Takashi Kajikawa, will resign and assume the nebulous title of "Advisor." Eight other Executive Officer level positions will change at the same time.
Full financial results for 2009 have not yet been announced.
Asked about rumors that Yamaha Motor USA would join Suzuki in not importing 2010 model year street models into this country, a Yamaha representative stated, "No truth to that at all. Our 2010 models were launched in September and we have been taking orders and releasing to dealers since October on select models."
Thanks for the tip, Ivar.