Yamaha continues to head into the 2013 season in aggressive fashion. In late March, the brand announced a certified pre-owned program that promised to both encourage owners to upgrade and help dealers capture a chunk of the expansive used market. Shortly after that news, Yamaha announced a financing program that targets rental operations. The latest? In June, the manufacturer launched a rather unique, one-month-long trade-in allowance promotion aimed at encouraging owners of any brand of personal watercraft to trade up to a new 2012 or 2013 WaveRunner.
Yes, Yamaha wants Sea-Doo and Kawasaki owners to trade in their crafts for a shiny new Yamaha. Now they’re offering a cash incentive to do so.
Like previous initiatives, the “Trade Up to a New Yamaha WaveRunner” program was designed first and foremost to drive repeat buyers to dealerships and to provide those dealers with a pool of used watercraft that can be used in the certified pre-owned program. The program allowed dealers to provide customers between $300 to $500 trade-in allowance on any brand of watercraft when they purchased a new Yamaha WaveRunner. The full $500 credit was reserved for 2012 and 2013 FZR, FZS, FX SHO, and FX Cruiser SHO models. The $400 credit was given for ’12 and ’13 VXR, VXS, FX HO, and FX Cruiser HO models, and the $300 credit reserved for the ’12 and ’13 VX Sport, VX Deluxe, and VX Cruiser.
The process was relatively straightforward. Interested customers first logged in to a designated website, www.tradeupwaverunner.com, where they filled out a serialized coupon form, including the model and the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the craft they planned to trade. The coupon could then be printed out to take to the dealer. There was no need for the customer to tell the dealer up front; they were free to negotiate their best deal, including the trade-in, on a new 2012 or 2013 WaveRunner, eliminating any concerns that a dealer would just factor the incentive into how low they were willing to drop on the new model. Once the deal was agreed upon, the customer could then present the coupon to receive the additional $300 to $500 trade-in credit. The bill of sale clearly showed that the $300 to $500 trade-in credit had been deducted from the purchase price. The trade-up allowance was limited to one trade-in unit per new unit purchased.
As to the dealer’s requirements, they needed to mail in a claim form, along with the customer’s serialized coupon and bill of sale. The dealer then received a corresponding trade-in credit on the dealer parts account. Of note, the trade-in allowance was offered in addition to all current Yamaha national sales programs.
According to Jimmy Wallace, general sales manager at Clearwater, Fla.’s Cycle Springs Powersports, the added incentive works. “The program definitely appealed to customers with trade-ins,” he noted. “And it did close deals for us, mainly where trade-in value was an objection.”
As of press time, Yamaha has not indicated whether they planned to extend the program, which ended on June 30.