Yamaha vigorously denies outboard dumping allegations

KENNESAW, Ga. – Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A. issued yesterday afternoon what it called “a vigorous denial” of the allegations by Brunswick Corp. that Yamaha is dumping outboard motors in the U.S. market.

Mercury Marine reported early yesterday that it had filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission asserting that Japanese manufacturers of outboard engines have violated U.S. anti-dumping laws.

“There is no basis for the allegations of dumping,” said Yamaha Marine Group President Phillip Dyskow. “Yamaha is typically among the highest priced suppliers to the U.S. market and has been successful because of the quality and dependability of our motors, not because of price. Indeed, Yamaha has been monitoring its pricing for over a decade to ensure that it is not dumping in the U.S. market.”

Dyskow stated in an interview this morning that the action initiated by Mercury is likely to take many months or even years to resolve; therefore, it will not impact the supply or pricing of products in the short term.

Yamaha points out Brunswick imports from Japan

The Yamaha executive pointed out that Brunswick has been relying on Yamaha to supply it with fully assembled four-stroke engines, power heads or cylinder heads. In fact, after Yamaha, Brunswick may be the largest importer of engines or crucial engine assemblies from Japan, Yamaha suggested.

“It is ridiculous for Brunswick to claim injury from imports when it is reliant on the very same imports it claims are being dumped to meet demand under the Mercury brand in the fastest growing segment of the market, four-stroke engines,” Dyskow said.

He also pointed out what he called Brunswick’s “well-publicized technical problems with the OptiMax two-stroke direct injection engines” and accused the company of trying to “disrupt the market with unfounded allegations invented to cover up its own shortcomings.”

“These technical problems contributed to the poor showing of Mercury outboards in the J.D. Power and Associates 2002 and 2003 Marine Engine Studies,” the company stated. “In these studies, J.D. Power and Associates ranked Yamaha Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Two-Stroke Engines in the 2002 study and Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Four-Stroke Engines in both 2002 and 2003. These studies are based on responses from owners of 2001 and 2002 model year marine engines.”

In addition, Dyskow noted that all prior attempts to show that Yamaha was injuriously dumping in the U.S. market, including its motorcycle and ATV businesses, have failed.

“We are prepared to defend this case vigorously and are confident that ultimately we will prove these allegations to be without merit,” Dyskow said.

The two outboard builders had not spoken about the allegations as of this morning, according to Dyskow, who declined this morning to comment on the future of their relationship.

Other engine builders doing their research

Yamaha isn’t the only engine builder that plans to comment on the allegations, however. Both Larry Vandiver of Suzuki and Dave Thompson of Bombardier said they are reserving comment until they can study the petition.

However, Vandiver offered, “American Suzuki has always been a fair competitor.”

Thompson stated, “Bombardier Motor Corp. of America is always sensitive to charges of serious dumping practices, which could have significant effects on out industries.”

Honda Marine declined to comment.

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– Liz Walz

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