Yamaha YZF-R1 Gearbox Recall Affects All USA Units

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More trouble looms for Yamaha and its pending recall of the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1, as our sources have indicated that all of the superbikes sold in the USA will be affected by the new R1’s transmission issues.

You may recall that Asphalt & Rubber broke the story two weeks ago about the upcoming recall for the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1, and we explored the topic in-depth on Episode 11 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast.

Still, we are surprised that a more formal announcement hasn’t emerged from Yamaha Motor USA regarding the matter.

In the meantime, Transport Canada – the importer for Yamaha motorcycles in Canada – issued a recall for 240 units, while some YZF-R1 owners in the USA have begun to receive letters from their local Yamaha dealers concerning the recall procedure.

For 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 owners who haven’t received a recall notice from the dealer, you should expect one, as it’s our understanding that ultimately all of the 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1 and 2015 Yamaha YZF-R1M motorcycles sold in the USA will need to have their transmission replaced.

This action has been outlined in a technical briefing sent to Yamaha dealers, which solidifies Yamaha’s course of action in correcting the faults found in its gearbox design.

In total, Yamaha expects dealers to take up to 15.8 hours swapping out the YZF-R1’s transmission. The transmission kit and accompanying fluids will set dealers back another $500, though depending on state laws, Yamaha would be on the hook for the full retail price of those items.

With shop service rates at dealerships in the USA rapid approaching $100/hour on average, this is looking like a very expensive recall for Yamaha Motor Corp, with costs on the conservative end of our estimations being $2,000 per motorcycle.

That figure will translate into millions of dollars – likely tens of millions of dollars-  in terms of costs for the recall in the American market.

With about $2,000 in dealer margin on the Yamaha YZF-R1 models, and likely the same amount of margin in the manufacturer’s cost, this looming recall could potentially wipe clean whatever income Yamaha Motor Corporation generated from YZF-R1/YZF-R1M sales in 2015.

If there is one thing that history teaches us though, how a manufacturers handle dreadful recalls such as these speaks volumes for their brands, and can actually be an opportunity for motorcycle manufacturers.

This is because when the customer experience is positive, an unfortunate recall like the one here can actually serve to strengthen brand loyalty from owners.

The BMW R1200RT recall from 2014 is a prime example of this principle, where affected owners were giving a menu of choices as to how BMW Motorrad could “make things right” for customers.

Time will tell how Yamaha Motor is judged for this recall. Stay tuned.

Source: Bothan Spies