YAKIMA SLASHES SKUS WITH SPRING 2016 INNOVATIONS
By Aaron H. Bible
In an industry-only announcement made this summer at a dealer event at its headquarters in Portland, OR, Yakima Products Inc. said it would launch the largest number of new products next year than it had in 20 years with more than 35 products and a base rack system that would reduce its number of clip SKUs by 50 percent.
Along with a renewed dealer engagement and a detailed evaluation of its consumer base, resulting in a revamped website and deeper understanding of how to grow its business, Yakima is rolling out a new aerodynamic roof rack system and upgraded cargo boxes next year. Yakima’s cargo boxes are made in the U.S.A. in Riverside, CA.
Due to the complexity of the category, the new products have been under development for more than three years. The company is keeping the release under embargo to consumer media until February 2016. While the SKU reduction will be fantastic news to dealers trying to stock a comprehensive assortment of Yakima base racks, the company wants to give them a chance to sell through this year’s inventory.
“The StreamLine System is the culmination of 35 years of Yakima innovation,” said Yakima Top of Car Category Director Garrett Barnum. “Like its predecessors, it has revolutionized the base rack space. StreamLine offers a complete solution for a wide variety of budgets, vehicles and uses. It is the epitome of Yakima’s commitment to making their products easy, from purchasing to installation to use.”
Yakima’s dealer event did replace its presence at ORSM, but Yakima was back in swing at Interbike, with an interesting spin, hosting the North By Northwest conglomerated booth space showcasing innovative brands from the Pacific Northwest region. This summer, its rep and dealer force were invited to a massive industrial warehouse and parking lot converted into a real life product showroom and upscale presentation space-complete with a wind tunnel, stage, movie screen and food trucks. It was here that reps, dealers, media, and even the outdoor community at large, were courted in the brand’s hometown.
Citing the lodging challenges of Salt Lake City, along with timing and the continuing or growing importance of regional buying shows, as well as the importance of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance buying shows, Yakima Global Senior Sales Director Jason McGibbon said the company simply “wanted to start the dialogue earlier.” McGibbon said Yakima is not ruling out future Outdoor Retailer shows, including Winter Market 2016.
“Ryan [Martin, CEO] gave us a hall pass to do something different,” said Yakima Category Director Joel Grabenstein. “And I know from experience, when I get a hall pass, I take it.”
The company spent the last year tracking what it calls the “consumer journey experience,” and for Spring 2016 is focused on increasing its consumer base through new markets and continuing to focus on ease of use, approachability and customer experience. Or as the company said, focusing on its three core values of empowerment, making good and shared experiences. They also honed their customer categories down into five “persons” – core outdoor, cyclist, hook & bullet, baby boomer and travelers/family – including a “reset” on all new visual brand elements and photography.
Yakima said it would continue to produce products under its Whispbar and Prorack brands, reaching the high and low ends, respectively, of the rack market. The company is privately owned, employs 85 people in Portland and also has offices in Australia and Holland. It celebrated its official 35th anniversary in 2014.
New Product Break Down
This next evolution of Yakima’s base racks is being called the StreamLine System – featuring both a streamlined look and installation experience developed as an integrated collection to create a cohesive look. Four bar styles are now completely interchangeable. Four new StreamLine towers should prove the most versatile and adaptable to date, featuring new BarBed design, which allows for pitch adjustment of the bar angle to achieve the most level front and rear crossbars, even on rounded roof lines. The StreamLine System also carries over the Yakima LandingPad, the “most seamless system on the market” for custom base racks.
At the center of the StreamLine system are four styles of crossbars – the CoreBar, JetStream Silver, JetStream Black and RoundBar. Each integrates with StreamLine System towers to maximize vehicle styling and cargo capacity.
The CoreBar is the first steel aerodynamic crossbar on the market, combining the strength and utility of steel with a JetFlow teardrop shape that minimizes wind noise and maximizes fuel efficiency. Roll formed steel construction is strong and reliable, galvanized and vinyl wrapped for durability and corrosion resistance. It’s available in four sizes – up to 20 inches longer than other aero bars on the market. Max load: 220 lbs. per pair of bars; Sizes: 50”, 60”, 70”, 80”; Finish: black vinyl coating; $119/pair.
The JetStream is a premium alloy crossbar available in two color options, engineered with a T-slot attachment and a wind tunnel designed JetFLow aerodynamic bar shape for noise reduction. Its SmartFill technology makes switching out accessories easy. JetStream is available in three sizes – up to 10 inches longer than other aero bars on the market. Max load: 165 lbs. per pair of bars; Sizes: 50”, 60”, 70”; Finishes: Clear anodized alloy finish; black powder coating; $195/pair. The iconic steel RoundBar remains vinyl-wrapped and available in five lengths, to fit any vehicle. The RoundBar was launched in 1982 and is far from obsolete. Max load: 165 lbs. per pair of bars; Sizes: 48”, 58”, 66”, 78”, 86”; $89/pair; 86” $159/pair.
Towers and Clips
The BaseLine is Yakima’s new, completely adjustable clamp tower system for bare roof types, adapting to fit the ever-changing shape of automobiles. This innovation is really the key to the SKU reduction. Its tower architecture uses a new bi-axial DropHook clip adjustment motion to accommodate a range of roof shapes. Its design ensures that the rack is safe and secure every time. The tower’s adaptable BarBed material conforms to work with RoundBar, CoreBar and JetStream Bars. In an industry first, it allows for pitch adjustment of the bar angle so that front and rear crossbars are as level as possible on vehicles with rounded roof lines. Crossbar fits: JetStream, Core- Bar, RoundBar (with adapter); Tower material: Stainless steel, glass reinforced plastic, elastomer padding; Lockable to vehicle (SKS locks sold separately); Maximum load rating to 220 lbs., depending on vehicle and bar rating; Risk-free torque set installation. Tool included. $199 (4 towers).
Yakima’s new family of custom shaped clips and pads are designed to work with BaseLine Towers to fit vehicles with bare roofs. Powder-coated stainless steel provides maximum strength and durabilitySold in pairs with vehicle-specific pads. Most racks require 2 sets. $48 (pair).
The RidgeLine Tower creates a base rack system for vehicles with factory flush side rails. Featuring an adaptive inner and outer clip design for secure, accurate rail contact, while the BarBed allows for pitch adjustment to level front and rear crossbars. Crossbar fits: JetStream, CoreBar, RoundBar (with adapter); Tower material: Stainless steel, glass reinforced plastic, elastomer padding; Lockable to vehicle (SKS locks sold separately); Maximum load rating to 220 lbs., depending on vehicle and bar rating; Risk-free torque set installation. Tool included; $199 (4 towers).
The new family of custom shaped clips and pads work with RidgeLine Towers to fit the unique inner and outer wall profiles of factory flush rails. Powder-coated stainless steel provides maximum strength and durability; Sold in sets of 4; one kit required to completely set up the system; $96 (set of 4).
The SkyLine Tower is for fixed points, custom installations and tracks. Built to be rugged and dependable, it is touted as being easy to use and combines with the Yakima LandingPad to create a variety of custom base rack applications. Fits all styles of LandingPad, both removable and permanent; Maximum load rating of 220 lb., depending on vehicle and bar rating; Lockable to vehicle (SKS locks sold separately); Tower material: Die-cast aluminum, stainless steel, glass-reinforced plastic, elastomer padding; Compatible bars: JetStream, CoreBar, RoundBar (with adapter); Risk-free torque set installation. Tool included; $199.
Proven to be one of the most seamless platforms on the market, the LandingPad secures SkyLine Towers to the vehicle. They feature dedicated vehicle fits for key outdoor-centric models such as the Honda Element and Subaru Outback, while also allowing custom applications to fit to any vehicle, including those with camper shells or truck caps. Materials: Glass-reinforced plastic, elastomer padding; $48 (2-pack), $96 (4-pack); Available Now.
This versatile TimberLine Tower creates a base rack system for vehicles with factory raised side rails. The over-molded stainless steel strap accommodates a variety of raised rail profiles and sizes, providing excellent roof clearance for a full range of gear mounts. Crossbar fits: JetStream, CoreBar, RoundBar (with adapter); Lockable to vehicle (SKS locks sold separately); Maximum load rating to 220 lbs., depending on vehicle and bar rating; Risk-free torque set installation. Tool included; $199 (4 towers).
Yakima is expanding its line of cargo boxes with a new, premium ShowCase line. Available in two sizes, 15 and 20, ShowCase offers a balance of aerodynamics, modern styling and super handy features. Yakima drew on its experience and success of the SkyBox series when designing key traits. All interaction points – from the new oversized push button latch to installation hardware that’s easier and more ergonomic than ever – were created to ensure a seamless, high-end experience when installing, loading and unloading the ShowCase. New features were designed to propel the company’s goal of being more accessible, and to be recognized as a brand, not just a product.
Dual-sided opening and lid stiffeners remain a key part of the Yakima cargo story. Premium features include a unique new color and die-cut automotive quality badging. Futuristic form was designed to maximize both hatch and roof clearance. As a finishing touch, the ShowCase features two new colors: Anthracite and Quicksilver.
“Designed for modern adventurers and urbaneers, it beautifully compliments vehicles while maximizing carrying capacity,” said Cargo Category Manager Evan Hampton. “It’s got the proven bones of our popular SkyBox series, with savvy premium upgrades and features, such as unbeatable hatch clearance. And it’s a thing of beauty, with a flowing design influenced by the curvy, contoured lines of a luxury sports car.”
Shared Features: High gloss automotive quality finish; Automotive style badge; Internal lid stiffeners; Quick-release mounting hardware fits round, aero, square and factory cross bars; Excellent roof clearance featuring metal clamp with molded soft finish; Dual-sided opening; Forward-facing hardware and tapered tail end for the ultimate in hatch clearance; Easy to use push button security; Installation time: 5 minutes; Same Key System (SKS) locks included.
- ShowCase 15: Cargo volume: 15 cubic feet, Ideal fit for smaller vehicles, Wagons and CUVs; Max ski length: 180 cm;
- Exterior dimensions: 80” x 36” x 14.5”; Weight: 46 lbs.; Two colors available: Anthracite, QuickSilver; $679.
- ShowCase 20: Cargo volume: 20 cubic feet; Ideal fit for larger vehicles, wagons and SUVs; Max ski length: 210 cm;
- Exterior dimensions: 91” x 37” x 17”; Weight: 60 lbs.; Two colors available: Anthracite, QuickSilver; $779.