Yamaha, the Japanese firm known mainly for its motorcycles, power equipment and musical instruments, wants to explore a new business: automaking.
Speaking to the Japanese press, Yamaha CEO Hiroyuki Yanagi said that he would like to begin building small cars for sale in the European market by 2019. The small city cars would likely be available in versions running either petrol or electric power. Its overall layout might be similar to the MOTIV concept shown in 2013 (pictured).
Details are scarce at the moment, but Yanagi envisions a 1.0L petrol-powered engine developed in-house. In addition, the CEO said that Europe was chosen as the starting point because its cities provided the best layout and infrastructure for such a vehicle.
Yamaha Motor Corp. is no stranger to the auto industry. It has been producing engines since 1955, and has supplied many of the world’s top automakers with powerful motors. Yamaha even served as a coachbuilder, for Nissan’s first Silvia starting in 1963 and Toyota’s 2000GT supercar starting in 1964.
In addition, Yamaha developed the DOHC 24-valve V6 for the 1989-95 Ford Taurus SHO, the DOHC 32-valve V8 for the 1996-98 SHO, and the 4.4L V8 currently in use in the Volvo XC90 and S80. Yamaha has also designed many twin-cam heads for Toyota over the years, in models ranging from the 1970 Celica to the Pontiac Vibe. Toyota currently owns a 5 percent stake in Yamaha.