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Yamaha unveils new outboards for freshwater market

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Yamaha Motor Corp. announced Thursday night that it will introduce four new models of 4-stroke outboards from 115 to 250 hp in 2015 — all engineered to meet the needs of the freshwater market.

“What made us strong in salt water is feature-rich product,” Yamaha Marine Group president Ben Speciale told me after the company’s 45-minute presentation of new product to the press at the Chattanoogan Hotel.

“So we see that trend moving into fresh water at a more rapid pace. We are focusing more on providing that feature-rich product to that freshwater segment. We’re going after that freshwater market in a stronger way.”

Yamaha has even defined the Midwest as a priority for sales and service, Speciale added.

The company introduced four new models in its Super High Output lineup: the V MAX SHO 115 and V MAX SHO 175 and the 150X and 250X VMAX SHO. The latter two are 25-inch shaft versions of the current V MAX SHO engines of the same horsepower.

The new models, which will begin to hit the market in April, deliver performance characteristics that are most important to freshwater boaters, namely top-end speed, Yamaha said. “The performance characteristics on a lighter boat are different than on a heavier one,” Speciale said. “One is not better or worse; they are just different.”

Yamaha also said it will bring to the market two improved and modernized versions of the F150 and F8 outboards. The improvements to the 150, which is Yamaha’s best-selling outboard, include clutch improvements for smoother shifting and the addition of the variable trolling feature, which lets the driver increase revolutions per minute in 500-rpm increments.