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Tokyo show: Yamaha pick-up concept uncovered

Crossing over: Yamaha is set to expand its manufacturing capabilities beyond motorbikes, pianos and electronics as it gears up to enter vehicle production in 2019.

Cross Hub concept designed as lifestyle pick-up from motorcycle-maker Yamaha


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30 Oct 2017


MOTORCYCLE specialist Yamaha has revealed its second four-wheeled vehicle at the Tokyo motor show in the form of the Cross Hub concept pick-up as it edges closer to the 2019 deadline for its first production car.

The Cross Hub follows 2015’s two-door Sports Ride concept and imagines a lifestyle pick-up able to transport two full-sized motorbikes as well as four passengers.

However, Yamaha Motor supervisor of advanced strategy design group Satoshi Nakamura poured cold water on the idea that the ute could enter production after its sportscar sibling, saying the Cross Hub concept is “purely a design concept at the moment”.

“Last time we showed the sportscar and this is possibly another way that Yamaha could do a four-wheel vehicle,” he told GoAuto on the stand at the show.

“The idea behind it was that we have a lot of tools to play with that we admire.

“We wanted to create a car for those people, so we started with the layout of ‘how could we fit a bike but with a short wheelbase?’“So we decided when we were playing around with the wheelbase and the layout, and we decided to put these bikes diagonally so you can actually fit two YZ450s with enough space for four people.”

Measuring 4490mm long, 1960mm wide and 1750mm high, the Cross Hub concept is shorter and lower than the pick-up segment-leading Toyota HiLux, which comes in at 5330mm long and 1815mm high, but is 105mm wider.

To accommodate two bikes in the tray, seats have been arranged in a cross pattern, with the driver situated centrally – McLaren F1-style – while second row passengers flank the operator and the final passenger sits centrally in the rear.

While a production version will likely make use of an orthodox seat layout, Mr Nakamura explained the arrangement allows for a more compact vehicle package and storage of two bikes diagonally.

“So you can see the diamond seat layout? By putting the second row sort of next to the driver, we created space for the front tyre to come through,” he said.

“From there, we created the cabin and the front cowl and the rear and we wanted to show off this frame that is very close to how we make motorcycles.

“Therefore, the name is called Cross Hub concept – it becomes the hub and crosses over to different fields.”

Sharing many design elements as the Sports Ride concept, Yamaha’s ute wears slender headlights atop a heavily moulded and chunky front bumper with a prominent skid plate.

The four-seater also features reverse-opening doors, orange and white interior, wood-grain tray bed, and an integrated sports bar.

Mr Nakamura said he did not look to established pick-ups for inspiration, but instead designed the Cross Hub concept as a lifestyle vehicle, not a workhorse.

“While we were working on this, we saw many possibilities, but at the moment we wanted to focus purely on that lifestyle side for our fans who ride those bikes and how would they want to live,” he said.

“And I think we provided sort of an answer because it’s quite compact, size-wise, so you don’t need to have a big pick-up driving around in the city, but maybe it’s a good – I don’t want to say compromise – but somewhere in between that you can choose.”

Hyundai Motor America greenlit production for its lifestyle-orientated Santa Cruz pick-up concept in August this year – setting up natural rivalry for the Cross Hub concept.

However, to bring such a car to production, Yamaha would likely need to tap a larger company with broader manufacturing capabilities, with the business case still “something we’re looking into,” according to Mr Nakamura.

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