Yamaha, the world’s second-biggest motorcycle manufacturer, is launching a clothing and accessories range to capitalise on the popularity of its MotoGP team rider Valentino Rossi.
The product range – which includes t-shirts, sweatshirts, baseball caps and backpacks for men, women and children – is called the Vale Collection and features the five-time world champion’s racing number and signature. The limited edition collection is available from Yamaha dealers and items cost between £6.49 and £49.99.
The move follows a similar launch by the iconic motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson at the end of 2005 (MW October 27, 2005). The company, which has sold branded products in the US for more than 20 years, signed a licensing deal with The Beanstalk Group to launch a range of toys and a children’s clothing line to boost the brand’s appeal with younger consumers.
Rossi is MotoGP’s highest profile rider and he has been linked with a move to Formula One in the past. He is contracted to Yamaha for the coming MotoGP season but it emerged at the end of last year that World Rally Championship (WRC) team Prodrive wants to offer him a full-time drive in WRC.
Earlier this year, Yamaha underwent a restructure and has been split into eight divisions – one of which is marketing operations. President and representative director of brand promotion Takashi Kajikawa has also been made chief general manager of motorcycle headquarters alongside his brand responsibilities.