Release 08-05
January 24, 2008

    Karen Caesar

Yamaha agrees to $2 million settlement with ARB for importing roughly 400 uncertified motorcycles into California
Part of money to be used to test emissions from ethanol

SACRAMENTO -Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, and South Seas Cycle Exchange of Honolulu will pay $2 million to the Air Resources Board to settle a 2005 lawsuit over the importation of approximately 400 motorcycles that failed to meet California emissions standards.

ARB's long-running investigation, which began in 2002, found that Yamaha USA, headquartered in Cypress, Calif., imported more than 400 illegal motorcycles, registered them to Yamaha, USA in California, obtained state license plates, and then eventually sold some of them to state residents. In most cases, these were popular 1999 - 2002 models that were in great demand and difficult to purchase in California. One dealer imported more than 200 and sold all of them to California residents.

"This settlement should send a powerful message to those who try and make an end run around our air quality regulations," said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. "We have the nation's toughest emissions standards for a reason - because too many parts of California still fail to meet federal health levels for air quality. These motorcycles could well have contributed to Southern California's already fouled air."

While other dealers involved in the case settled earlier with the ARB, both Yamaha USA and South Seas Cycle Exchange refused until recently.

Under the terms of the agreement, Yamaha USA will pay approximately $1.2 million to the California Air Pollution Control Fund, which supports pollution-related research. The company will also pay $500,000 to fund a project to test the impact of ethanol fuel blends on emissions from off-road gasoline engines, and $300,000 to the Office of the Attorney General for attorneys' fees.

In addition to the financial penalties, Yamaha and South Seas Cycle Exchange started a vehicle purchase program in December to buy back and destroy or remove any motorcycles that have been identified as not having been certified for use or registration in California.

Motorcycles that do not meet California's stringent emission requirements create higher amounts of smog-forming pollutants, which can then exacerbate respiratory ailments and negatively affect other health conditions.

Below is an image of an emissions label from a R6 that meets California and all of the other states emissions requirements.
If it did not meet California requirements, the word California would not be on the label and the label would say that it only meets Federal requirements.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.