Yamaha just did something revolutionary. No, it didn’t make a faster PWC, a more maneuverable PWC, or even a PWC with some new whiz-bang technology. Instead, the company just made a PWC easier and cheaper to own by trotting out a certified pre-owned program for used models. Yup, that same used machine you were searching Craigslist for now just may be found at your local Yamaha dealer…with a warranty to boot.
Why? Why not. The certified pre-owned concept has worked great for car manufacturers. And judging by the numbers, it could work just as great in the personal watercraft market. According to Yamaha’s research, there are well over 100,000 used personal watercraft sold a year. That dwarfs new model sales. And the vast majority of those sales — 90% — are private-party transactions that a dealer has no part of. Yamaha’s desire is to tap into this market, bring more customers into their dealer’s showrooms, possibly upsell a few of them into a new machine, and build a relationship for the future with a lot of new customers.
The biggest advantage of the CPO program to the consumer is simple peace of mind. Rather than taking their best guess at how a pre-owned watercraft was maintained, or how it will run once they fork over the cash, consumers buying a CPO craft will get a 12-month warranty, backed by Yamaha and with service at a Yamaha dealership. That’s something you’ll never be assured of in a private sale. There’s also the fact that a CPO craft has undergone a 35-point inspection by the dealership’s service department. Someone probably far more knowledgable about the workings of a personal watercraft engine has gone through the craft and deemed it ready for sale. A customer will also know the engine has less than 200 hours on it, and though it should be obvious, that the craft is less than six years old.
A customer can also qualify for special financing deals, purchase even more warranty coverage, or if they’re really savvy, find a craft with an even longer warranty on it. According to Yamaha, craft previously sold with an extended warranty will maintain what’s left of that coverage in addition to the 12-month warranty for being a CPO unit. Example? If a craft was sold at a boat show with an extended warranty deal and still has 24 months remaining on that warranty, that CPO craft would be covered for 36 months.
When I talked to Yamaha Marketing Manager Bryan Seti, he likened the CPO program to having a new, entry-level unit for dealers to sell. Can’t afford an $8,000 VX? Good news, you can find a less expensive option that still carries a warranty.
That’s peace of mind you don’t find on Craigslist.