Yamaha continues to explore new avenues to promote personal watercraft ownership. Last year, the brand introduced the industry’s first certified pre-owned (CPO) program, which allowed consumers the opportunity to buy a pre-owned PWC with the peace-of-mind that comes with a full factory warranty. In late December 2013, the company was at it again, unveiling two more industry firsts, a guaranteed buyback program and the opportunity to lease, rather than buy a new WaveRunner.
“We know the numbers are through the roof as far as people that go boating and use a personal watercraft,” notes Bryan Seti, general manager, Yamaha WaterCraft Group. “Our goal is to drive as many people as possible into the dealership to buy new.”
The guaranteed buyback program is aimed at buyers of new-model WaveRunners that finance on a 60-month term. The program gives these buyers the opportunity to return the craft after 36 months and “walk away,” or instead trade up to a new model.
Yamaha will offer buyers a 30-day window at the end of the 36 months in which to make the decision. The value of the craft will be based on used PWC pricing from the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA). Yamaha will pay remaining loan balances up to $2,500. Dealers pay no fee to participate in the program, which is financed through either GE or Capital One.
According to Seti, the program is aimed at first-time customers unsure about getting into the sport, as well as the high-end consumer who wants the “latest and greatest” every three years. As of Jan. 15, 2014, 175 dealers have signed up to participate in the program.
Though these programs have long been staples in the automotive industry, Yamaha is the first to bring the lease concept to the personal watercraft market. The company is rolling out the WaveRunner lease program in six states to start — Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Texas — and plans to announce additional states soon.
“We don’t think there’s a ‘one-size-fit-all’ approach to the purchase process for every consumer,” explains Seti. “So we want our dealers to have a toolbox at their disposal to find the right option for every customer who walks in their door. Some want new, others want used or maybe short-term ownership.
“We are aiming to remove the barriers of entry into the marketplace with our products. Leasing is a great option for many potential customers since it removes the commitment factor of ownership. We also wanted to offer an option for the customer who wants the latest and greatest product every three years.”
Both programs, as well as Yamaha’s existing Rental Operator program, will offer dealers multiple opportunities to acquire good used units at a very competitive price. In turn, this will give dealers the opportunity to place those units on the CPO program and earn additional, incremental revenue.
“Our goal is to have a program for every customer who walks into one of our dealerships,” says Seti. “For new PWC owners, leasing is one of many great options for them. Existing customers can absolutely use it as a way to always have a newer model.
“This gets at the essence of our strategy in creating these sales programs. By expanding the breadth of what our dealers can offer, we believe we will not only attract new sales, but also ensure that our customers have a great ownership experience with our products…
“…and build meaningful, long-term relationships with our dealers.”