MEDINA, Minn. (FOX 9) - After more than 50 years in the industry, Yamaha Motors has announced it will end its run producing snowmobiles.
On Wednesday, the company announced, "Plans for an eventual withdrawal from the snowmobile business."
In the announcement, the company said model year 2024 will be its last available in European markets, and its 2025 model year will be its last in North America.
Since the release of its first snowmobile in 1968, Yamaha has been a leading brand in snowmobile production for both the European and North American markets.
In recent years the company became an outlier in the industry, switching to producing only four-stroke snowmobile engines, which are deemed more environmentally friendly machines, but drew the ire of some consumers within the industry.
In 2014, Yamaha began partnering with the Artic Cat brand to produce its engines – a partnership that resulted in two brands consolidating shared technology.
But in 2021, Yamaha closed a research and development facility in Minocqua, Wisconsin, which drew concerns of an eventual departure from the industry.
In the announcement, Yamaha has since concluded, "it will be difficult to continue a sustainable business in the snowmobile market," despite a recent uptick in demand for the machines following the immediate onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company plans to "concentrate management resources on current business activities and new growth markets," according to the announcement.
After a heyday in the 1960s and 1970s that saw dozens of brands making snowmobiles, including Moto-Ski, Scorpion, John Deere, and more – the industry will now be down to three brands: Polaris, Arctic Cat and Ski-Doo.
Hometown favorite, Polaris Industries, was founded in 1955 in Roseau, Minnesota, and continues to manufacture snowmobiles and snow bikes. The company also has a development center in Medina, Minnesota.