Yamaha is best known for making everything but cars. They make motorcycles, boats, scooters, wheelchairs, robots, even swimming pools, but not cars. Not until, apparently, they met Gordon Murray and decided he was onto something, because Yamaha is about to start making cars in a big way.

Form Meets Function

Gordon Murray is a well-known name to gearheads, and was a legendary designer on the F1 circuit, which he started out in by building and successfully racing his own car. Murray was, and is, a master at figuring out how to make things more durable while subtracting weight; F1 is as insanely fast as it is now because Murray put decades of work into finding the right materials. But lately Murray has been thinking small. Like, really small, “smaller than a Smart fortwo” small. Which is how he came up with the T.25 and T.27, and which Yamaha seems to be building under the name Motiv.

Ting The Tuning Forks

Enter Yamaha. It makes sense to partner with Yamaha not least because, let’s face it, nobody knows putting powerful engines into very light chassis quite like the engineers at Yamaha. More to the point, it can easily put its burlier engines into Murray’s city car concept while simultaneously experimenting with other ideas for the cars. Yamaha isn’t going to start building sedans tomorrow, but instead building cheap, tiny cars to get around cities for as little gas, and thus as little money, as humanly possible.

The Future Of City Driving?

This still needs to be approved by Yamaha’s board of directors, but it’s hard to see how the company wouldn’t approve it. And it’s also unclear how, precisely, these tiny little cars will be distributed; it seems unlikely they’ll arrive in the US without at least some regulatory arguments. But one way or the other, expect some Yamaha cars in 2016.

Dan Seitz

Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.