Yamaha Motor Europe and Fantic Motor are ramping up their collaboration. The mega-subsidiary of Yamaha and small-scale dirtbike maker announced they’ll work together on new electric vehicle technology, including battery bikes.
Yamaha Motor Europe and Fantic already had a working arrangement, as is common with many smaller Euro motorcycle manufacturers. The updated partnership comes after Fantic bought out all Motori Minarelli’s shares, resulting in the following press release blurbage: “This operation provides a strengthening of the existing Yamaha Motor and Fantic Motor synergy to move the collaboration between the two companies to the next level in the fields of Motorcycle and e-mobility … this important partnership will allow Motori Minarelli to further increase know how on engines and e-powertrain, widen the production range, enter in the e-mobility segment and reinforce Fantic Motor’s market competitiveness while safeguarding the current employment levels.”
Errr, lovely. The press release goes on to say Fantic will benefit from Motori Minarelli’s skilled workforce, increased industrial and R&D capacity, and access to “selected Yamaha engines and components with the latest technologies.”
As for Yamaha, what does it get from it? Easy, if you can decipher the press release-speak: “This operation is also in line with Yamaha Motor’s global engine manufacturing strategy, already underway, which leverages on the increase of efficiency through the global deployment of engine platforms, and on the optimization of production capacity through the consolidation of the combustion engine manufacturing in the main volume markets.”
What they’re struggling to say is, Yamaha thinks acquiring these smaller companies will help it work more efficiently. How that’s supposed to be so isn’t quite clear, but there are two interesting things to note here. First, this is probably a medium-term effect of COVID-19 on the Italian moto industry, just like the Dainese acqusition of TCX last week. Expect more of these to come.
Second, this might be a cheeky way for Yamaha to explore electric vehicle tech without sharing its discoveries with the rest of the Big Four. Currently, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Honda are all working on a project to investigate swappable batteries in commuter-type scooter vehicles. This could be a way for Yamaha to do other research without having to share what it finds out?