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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Suzuki Is Shrinking, Is The End Coming?

    William Maley

    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com

    April 16, 2012

    To say Suzuki is hurting would be a large understatement. The brand is showing many signs of trouble which include,

    • Suzuki's first quarter sales totaled 6,561 vehicles, a drop of 2% over last year. Meanwhile, in the same quarter, the market rose 13%.
    • Suzuki skipped the Los Angeles and Detroit Auto Show
    • Suspended their social media activity (i.e. Facebook & Twitter) two months ago
    • Steve Younan, the top U.S. product planning and marketing executive, left in January and will not be replaced.
    • Suzuki hasn't aired a ad nationally since 2009
    • In January, Suzuki stopped getting data from J.D. Power and Associates
    • Since 2005, Suzuki has been losing dealers. Last year, 32 Suzuki dealers closed (about 12%)
    • A Suzuki dealer told Automotive News that about 60% of Suzuki's remaining dealers sell five or less vehicles per month

    Now, a report from Automotive News says Suzuki is focused on short-term profitability than investment.

    "They seem to be more interested in controlling expenses than increasing revenue," a source said.

    The brand has been cutting costs wherever possible. A good amount of those cuts have effected the promotional aspect of the business. Not a good thing since Suzuki has refreshed versions of the SX4 subcompact and Grand Vitara SUV coming out later this year.

    "The strange thing to me is, even at this bare minimum, when the opportunity is presented to make some news and provide something positive for customers and the dealers, they avoid it," said another source.

    The question being asked now is whether Suzuki is planning to rebuild their U.S. operations or make an exit out of the U.S.?

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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    I have to go with Exiting the US market. The dealership where my son bought his Jeep says most people will not bother even looking at the Susuki cars. The sales people says the dealership stopped taking cars and pretty much they are working to sell off the 30+ new cars treating them like they did when they had their Saturn Dealership. Sell them cheap and exit out. The best media I had heard on the cars was the C&D drive over eastern europe to Alaska and down to LA. Yet Susuki failed to capitalize on this for selling more cars. I have lately heard from the Susuki Motor cycle dealership which also sells Yamaha and services my wave runners that the motor cycle side is no different than the car side and how people seem to just be waiting out the eventual death\exit from US markets.

    Doing a search on sales for other Susuki products does not grab much growth either. I wonder if they are just focusing on exiting the business over all world wide or if they just so lost their focus and way that they will pull back to the mother land and regrow slowly.

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    It's a shame, really. Suzuki actually had potential, but I guess when you're a company so small you're lucky to pay the bills to keep the lights on it doesn't matter.

    If they had somehow managed to let their sportbike and ATV range heavily influence their cars and SUVs, I think it could've yielded an interesting result. A Grand Vitara replacement renamed and restyled to reflect the attidude of the Suzuki KingQuad and Ozark would've been neat, ditto a trail-worthy crossover in the vein of the QuadSport racing ATVs.

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    It's odd that they've generated so much brand-equity with their powersports divisions, but that hasn't translated to their cars. Honda has done it with aplomb. But I guess Hayabusa riders won't find SX4's terribly exciting.

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