40th Anniversary Rewind: Yamaha Then and Now

Yamaha’s Industry Outlook in 1982

As Yamaha launches its Viking VI, we look back to 1982 when MPN featured an interview with Yamaha Motor Corp. USA’s then senior vice president of sales and marketing, Merle Karst.


The interview covered Yamaha’s pursuit of Honda at the time as the No. 1 OEM in market share. Karst explained that Yamaha and Honda’s competition was healthy for the market and created a sense of excitement. In 1982 Yamaha had its biggest marketing effort to date at that time. Despite that strong effort, Honda’s pockets seemed to be even deeper that year.

Karst goes on to explain that while some of the company’s advertising spend was directed toward first-time buyers, a majority of it was thrust at the enthusiast.

The topic of high-performance motorcycles was also brought up, to which Karst replied that the American mentality is looking for that excitement which high-performance offers.

Lastly, Karst talks about how Yamaha goes about opening new dealers, by not responding to the market today, but by taking the temperature of how the market may eventually be.

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