It isn’t common knowledge that Yamaha Corporation makes the most pianos in the world, but since the separation in 1955, Yamaha Motor Company Limited has been a separate entity. The list of things that Yamaha produces is too long for this space, but suffice it to say that when Volvo needed a transverse V8 for their cars, they approached these chaps to do the needful. 1955 is also when the motorcycle division was formed, and the first product was a 125cc motorcycle that was a copy of a German design. In 1957, it offered the first five-speed transmission on a Japanese motorcycle. 1955 is also the year that Yamaha began participating in motorcycle racing – this is key because over the years they’ve had many fantastic victories, most memorably a certain Italian rider moving from another Japanese manufacturer to them in MotoGP and winning first time out. This is important, because this performance-driven image is what represented Yamaha in the Indian market for many years, because it was represented by the RX100/135 and the RD350.
After losing its mojo for many years, it went back to its roots and launched the YZF-R15, a 1500cc pocket rocket that helped build the brand again, and the FZ16 brought it sales success. Since the scooter segment was a fast-growing one, Yamaha entered the fray with the Ray, a trendy 110cc unisex scooter that was just a little biased towards the fairer sex. It then launched different variations and upgrades – the Ray Z added cosmetic oomph, the Alpha was macho. The Cygnus Ray Alpha added a disc brake as well. However, the breakthrough product was the Fascino; a stylish scooter that offered almost as much style as any premium Italian scooter marque but at a price that befitted a Japanese product.