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Suzuki's US Future -- Good or Dismal

I think everyone here agrees we will continue to see big changes in the automotive world over the next few years. It would seem as if the really small manufacturer's, such as Suzuki, would be packing up it's US operations. But, with Suzuki's sales increasing and the launch of some interesting new vehicles, Suzuki may make a big comeback.

Will Suzuki become a permanent US player or will it be a has been like Fiat or Peugeot? If Suzuki STOPS selling rebadged Daewoos, my bet is that Suzuki will do just fine, firmly positioning itself in front of Mitsubishi, Kia and possibly Hyundai.

Suzuki is where Honda and Toyota where 20 years ago, building high quality, small and affordable cars. With their low price points, unique products and relatively high-quality cars, it's looking good. It seems small and different is quickly becoming what US car buyers are seeking.

The SX4 and new Swift, in my opinion, are raisng the bar for all manufacturers. Thoughts?


  • latest favorite carmaker, Suzuki. I think that Suzuki's star is just going to keep rising and rising. The 2007 Suzuki SX4 offers a lot of car for the money. You've got to examine all that the base model SX4 offers. 4-wheel disc brakes, A/C, power w's, l's amd m's, a decent stereo/CD player, remote keyless entry, on-board mpg monitor, on-board tire pressure monitoring system, standard ABS brake system with all SX4's, airbags coming out your ears, i-AWD where you can go 2WD FWD , AWD-Auto for a little more grip on things or AWD-Lock, in which you can lock all four wheels for an SX4-versioned 4WD mode. Once you grip up and pick up speed to 36mph the i-AWD system automatically pops you back into the AWD-Auto mode, and off you go to explore more of Arizona. For $14,999 it truly can't be matched anywhere by anybody.

    I would guess that I'll either get a Suzuki SX4 or a Kia Optima as my next new car. I have scads and scads of respect and admiration for Kia Motors, too, and they offer so much car for the money, too, along with Suzuki. The new Kia Optima offers a midsize, attractive car with great safety equipment standard(sound familiar), 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway(better than the smaller Suzuki SX4), 5-speed tranny and loads and loads of great equipment standard for only $16,399. I will want to keep a close watch on Scion to see what they will replace the xA with, too. I was close to buying an xA about a year ago and held off.

    Our 2001 Kia Sportage 4x4 is running like a champ at 123,949 miles and to run a rig that is paid off completely is a mighty nice lure for us. I will probably hold and keep doing fun research until the Sportsman konks out. Not going to happen for a good while, either. Like I say, I see so much value in these South Korean rigs and their quality is great.

    What is exciting about Suzuki is their commitment to new body styling, subbing out SX4 body styling to the Italians. From my research I don't see how one can go wrong buying an SX 4. That 7 year and 100,000 mile Warranty sounds impressive. Here lies the potential problem area. How good will your Suzuki dealer's service department be keeping up their end of the bargain? Suzuki could likely mirror new Kia's, in which right away you have to bring your new Kia in for service to pick up a TSB fix, recall, etc. I really don't mind doing that if I love my new car. I had to bring my '99 Kia Sephia in a few times and I had to stick to it and bring our current Kia, the Sportage 4x4 in a few times . All of the work was done quickly and at no cost to us. It enabled me to walk the lot, gander over the new Kia's and drink marginal coffee, while I discussed cars with the salespeople. Not a bad life at all. It was not a chore to me at all because I love cars. My slight concern is with the Suzuki service department network.

    My Kia service departments have been stellar and supportive. No complaints to wager at all against them.

    I think that Suzuki's future in America looks bright, though it won't grow by leaps and bounds. It will keep up steady growth, though, IMO. I would like them to bring a new world order Swift over here-I might be interested in a sporty 4-door, 4-cyl., 5-speed Swift if they imported one.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • Inlaws had a 1990 Tracker( a rebadged Suzuki), until 1999... 217,000+ Trouble Free miles.
    They also have a 97, Green, Tracker, around 90K miles, and only issue is fading paint on the hood.
    Not bad for 10 years of, and lots of road salt in the Midwest, during the winters.
    The father-in-law got an SX4 about 8 weeks ago.
    He likes it a lot. 27-28 MPG(automatic)...he also lead foots a lot(he said he could probably get 30-31MPG hwy, if he drove all hwy, that is).
    The above numbers are for about 25-35% hwy.
    Great Car. Felt like a Toyota on the test drive(s).
    Handles like a new knife: Very Sharp!
    Thing looks as good on the interior as our tC.
    As Iluv knows.... we have a Sonata(second one) since 1999. They are not bad, but they do not seem as durable as Suzuki's!
    Cloth on my 04 Sonata GLS V6... wearing thin already :surprise:
    "Mouse Fur" cloth.

    The interior in that 96 Tracker(I said 97, sorry)...great. Slightly faded, but wearing thin? No.
    A 300 dollar paint job would fix it, and that;'s all the issues in 10 years they have with the Tracker.
    My main gripe about Suzuki is the GM-DAT cars. I like the idea of the Reno(and 45mph and above, it's not bad, but slow ot 60... like 11 seconds, and low MPG for a FWD car).
    Anyhow, I read Suzuki's building a new small car plant, forgot where I read it, but I did.
    They do not want any more GM-DAT cars, it sounds like(even though they own 11%+ stake in it).
    Out of 3 dealerships, one is with a larger auto group, and should do ok. The other one is borderline tolerable, and the 3rd one sells Suzuki's out of the same building that Motorhomes are sold out of :surprise: :confuse:

    Another 2 places closed last year or so(before Suzuki's Revival)...

    If they fix the whole line up to be as good as the new SX4...(but for their larger cars) I will seriously consider one.
    I had read about a possible new compact, and sporty compact car...for 08(or 08 model?)... but hjard ot find anything on Suzuki, unless they relase the info themselves, and they rarely do that, unless it's 30 days before production, it seems.
    Would not mind a 'tC" fighter type of car(they had 155HP in Aerio car, which will be replaced by the SX4 sedan this Spring, 143HP...), maybe add 4 inches of length to the Reno, 155HP, 31-33MPG.....built totally by Suzuki... I'd look, and maybe even buy.

    They build solid cars( the Trackers , i do not care for, since they are more like Tractors vs Trackers,lol, in NVH< handling, etc).
    They ain't going anywhere. Been here 21+ years.
  • if ya look at the revies, the SX4 IS the SWIFT, but longer, and built to look"tough", and larger engine, to more fit into the USA market. If they bring a Swift here, ti won't be for a few more years.
  • and really I like the SX4 design more than the Swift. My favorite SX4 colors are the Techno Blue Metallic, Bright Red and that Metallic Orange looks pretty good.

    I've been studying the '07 Kia Optima lately. The body design, especially that huge headlamp assembly, is really starting to grow on me. 24 city and 34 highway if you buy the 4 cyl. 5-speed Optima, which I would. Hey, $16,399 with a $600 destination charge still chings up to under $17,000. As our Sportage 4x4 chugs happily along it's going to be a gas researching what we'll get next!

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,395
    I had occasion recently to rent a Hyundai Sonata, the badge engineering twin of the Optima. What a drab little dog of a car. The steering is leaden, the inside looks like a cheap motel room and it's about as much fun to drive as an old Buick.

    The weird thing is it was not anything like the prior generation Kia Optima I rented earlier this year which I thought was a lively little car.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    If Suzuki STOPS selling rebadged Daewoos, my bet is that Suzuki will do just fine, firmly positioning itself in front of Mitsubishi, Kia and possibly Hyundai.

    Given Daewoo no longer exists, Suzuki has no choice but to stop selling re-badged Daewoos.

    On the other hand, Suzuki owns a 25% interest in a new company that acquired former Daewoo factories in Korea now known as GM DAT.

    Suzuki is at capacity in its Japanese factories. Its US factory is under capacity. However, given the cost of US labor, it would seem to make more sense for Suzuki to expand capacity in the US but stop using capacity at less expensive Korean facilities Suzuki owns.

    Which leads to my question: How do you expect Suzuki to expand market share profitably as you appear not to want Suzuki to make cars in Korea? (which can be the only logical basis for the Daewoo reference)
  • Yes, my Daewoo reference was to cars made and designed in Korea. I am not saying that Suzuki should or should not make cars in Korea. It is my understanding that the cars Suzuki is currently selling from Korea in the U.S. market are products not designed by Suzuki. I find that Suzuki developed cars seem to offer a higher interest level than the cars they rebadge from Korea.

    My comment was not intended to tell Suzuki how to increase its production capacity, I was just saying that IF Suzuki sold more of its Suzuki-developed cars in the US, it is my opinion, that the brand might prove more popular.

    To me, it would seem a little pompous for me or anyone to tell Suzuki how they should be gearing their production capacity for more output.
  • logic1logic1 Posts: 2,433
    GM DAT carried over some Designs Daewoo was working on when they went under.

    Suzuki and GM through its Australian Holden division are now working on new designs to be made in the factory. My understanding is despite GM's recent divestment of its Suzuki stock, Suzuki continues to want to use the Daewoo facilities as the cost of expanding in Japan is prohibitive.

    GM DAT products should be competitive if the designs are. One of the reasons Daewoo went under was the enormous sums it spent on its facilities. One of the new GM DAT factory (believe it is in Southern Korea - but I forgot the name of the city) is arguably the most modern and technically advanced auto factory out there.

    Korean labor has a tendency to strike at unfortunate moments. But they are well trained.

    I imagine once the Suzuki/Holden designs start cranking out, you will have a real competitor to Hyundai. No reason then the Suzuki brand in the US wouldn't start to expand.
  • I believe Suzuki is the best kept secret of the auto world! It is largely ignored by consumers and other car companies but I don't think for long. Suzuki is basically a twin of Honda... a builder of cars, motorcycles and boat engines. Their founders even grew up in the same area of Japan.

    This year Suzuki has overtaken Honda to become Japan's #3 car manufacturer in sales there. Nobody in the U.S. even realizes this.

    As for rebadging generic GM Daewoo cars, I hope that ends pretty quickly. They are sold worldwide as Chevys, Buicks, Holdens and yes, Daewoos. Only in the U.S. can you buy a Daewoo designed Suzuki. I think the Suzuki designed products around the world are far superior but American Suzuki will probably need to rely on these Daewoos for at least another generation to keep sales here growing.

    Well, anyways, my wishlist for 2007 would be:
    -Bring us the SX4 2.0S (
    -sell more cars in the U.S. than Mitsubishi
    -break 125,000 sales

    Thank you Santa. Go Suzuki!
  • Remember that GM owns a big part of Daewoo in Korea, GM bought it during Daewoo's bankruptcy. If you pay attention to Suzuki's new SUV you can see the the Chevy Trailblazer and Saturn Vue.
    100,990 units sold, a record year for Suzuki, and the first for over 100,000 units sold in USA. 2006 sales were up 23% over 2005.
    Kia sold over 294,000 units in 06(see same website or, or any other that gives 06 figures), and Hyundai around 455,000 or so units for 06, so in order for Suzuki to beat either, they had better get going!

    I read on
    that Suzuki is going to have an addition to the reno line-up, a Sporty Reno, and a tweaking of Forenza, and on other sites( edmunds Inside Line, for one) the Aerio is gone, and the SX4 sedan is going to replace it.
    If you look @ intellichoice, and check out 08, says an all new sport sedan from Suzuki will be as good as their motorcycles(something like this). All New. Good.

    Heard Suzuki is building a plant in the same country they build the SX4 with Fiat(Hungary? Too lazy to do a search... already did enough for one month, lol).

    And the new plant would produce New(worldwide) Cars for Suzuki. I hope so.
    The Reno is a nice idea, and style, But, it takes nearly 11 seconds to hit 60 with 126HP? The Rio with 110HP(sedan) can hit it in 10 seconds, give or take.

    If Suzuki tweaks their cars like they did my father - in- law's SX4(has had it nearly 3 months, 7, 500 miles already),
    I Will Buy A Reno sport hatch from them! Not Kidding.
    Big Difference between the SX4 and any other Suzuki out there.
    Try to Visit a dealership, and test drive say forenza, then the sx4, Big Difference in quality, NVH, 0-60, handling, Everything.
    Inlaws had 2 Suzuki's (well, "Chevy" Trackers)... and as I stated before, the one lasted 213,000+ miles. The other is still in their driveway. A 1997 model, 80-90K miles, only issue is fading hood paint.
    They are as reliable as any Honda or Toyota( engine-wise/body-wise), BUT,. NVH, 0-60, MPG, the rest is behind almost everyone else!
    The Reno, for example, is rated @ 29-31MPG, with a 126HP I-4. Our Scion tC, with 160HP, gets 32-34MPG with automatic(despite the EPA label saying 29MPG).
    Even if all it got was 29MPG, a 160HP engine, similarly size cars,etc, but 34 More HP than Reno? That's not a good thing.

    take care/not offense.
  • 1) get larger dealerships, and more of them.
    2) more advertising
    3) more vehicles at the "smaller" autoshows.
    4) maybe raise awareness by putting out more info on these "upcoming" cars for 07 and 08(about their "sporty" sedan and hatch/reno ...these are making a come back, small and sporty = sales these days). Get people interested!
  • a pretty positive response from the SX4 "fans" over at the Edmunds SX4 thread. The SX4 sedan is a "looker" IMHO. The SX4 crossover is rather slow but that is not something that eliminates it from my futures list. The SX4 crossover is truly a beautiful little car, emphasis on little. I talked to a lady at the gas station who was filling up her SX4 and that is a small rig, gentlemen. Looked like a little Japanese gas-economizing import, which it is, apparently not economizing enough for a lot of people. 22 city and 29 highway miles per gallon is fine with me but not good enough for many others, though.

    The little sedan appears to have many early fans, and it does look very handsome. I will take a good look at it myself. Yeah, Suzuki sells more cars than Honda in their home Japanese market.

    For my next car the two current finalists are the Kia Optima and the Suzuki SX4. Our '01 Kia Sportage 4x4 is running like a top at 124,894 miles and we will no doubt want to run it till it's wheels fall off and enjoy no car payments for a tad, so a purchase will no doubt be a ways off still. Lots of fun research time still available to me!

    Suzuki has popped squarely into my picture though with this hot new SX4 and the soon-to-be-here SX4 sedan. Build quality on the SX4 crossover appears solid as the other Japanese imports so far.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • If they can improve the quality of the Korean made cars or come up with their own wider range of cars I think they will do fine. The Verona was the size car they needed in the US market but it was very unreliable and under powered. I hope they can come up with something better next time.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    how many Suzuki dealers I have in a 30-mile radius? One. You know how much mark-up they put on every Suzuki on the lot? $2995. If Suzuki doesn't get its act together on a major dealer network expansion and improvement in the next five years at the most, that's all the time I give it to remain in the U.S. selling cars.

    Look at all the improvements they made on the Grand Vitara, and yet sales don't show it and cash incentives are up.

    The SX4 is a cute little puppy, but you almost never see them on the roads. I was intrigued to note that I saw 3 or 4 on a recent trip to L.A., more than I have ever seen here in the Bay Area. I have test driven and think it is very much worth the $16-17K sticker price - it shows the Scion line a thing or two for instance. But unless you specifically want AWD, it has its downsides too.

    They do very much need a larger sedan designed and built by Suzuki Japan for the NA market.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Suzuki is always going to be a small player in the US simply because they're heavily oriented toward the small end of the size spectrum (Suzuki is the undisputed king of the kei car market in Japan). Anything bigger than a compact is going to come from their stake in GMDAT (or maybe their recent horse-trading with Nissan).
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,968
    Might be a big gamble to import them here since minivan sales are way down.

    Is the minivan becoming a victim of sexism? (Straightline)
  • harrycheztharrychezt Posts: 405

    Suzuki Built,Not GM-DAT.
    Should be out next year?

    I do not see anything about any future Reno/Forenza(their largest sellers) for future vehicles, Anywhere.

    Seems the SX4 CUV and SX4 sedan may replace them(sort of?).
    The sx4 sedan,out by September(?) is the size(or larger) than the current Forenza, and FWD.

    The sx4 sounds good, but why the decontenting of the interior? I have seen this on subcompacts, like Rio, etc...(nor armrest/center console), etc... but, not in compacts!
    Why, Suzuki, why?
    It's annoying that this rather simple, failry inexpensive item is missing in the in-laws SX4 CUV and I am sure w/o one in the SX4 sedan, it'll be equally aggravating( and iirc, only driver can order a fold down arm rest, which is not quite as good, either, and passenger on their own...what is this, 1990?).

    I might give Suzuki a try next year, when the Verona(Suzuki's version) comes out.

    I dunno.
    I like the SX4 CUV, and the car is supposedly faster.
    But this decontenting the interior, to add abs, etc.... and keep prices "low", no thanks.

    They need a real sporty car, like our tC( 0-60 around 8 seconds, 32-34MPG, 3 door hatch...they sold nearly 80,000 tC's last 'em good, they'll sell).
    This 143HP, maybe 9-10 seconds to 60, and maybe 29-31MPG?

    They lost sales vs april 06, but are slightly ahead(for now) for the year. Their cars geting 29-31MPG, or Toyota cars getting 38-40MPG( Yaris,similarly priced cars)...
    with 3-3.50 a gallon, people get the most MPG for their bucks, not "mediocre" mpg small cars.

    Fix MPG, re-content cars,more dealerships and advertising.
    Some cars in their line-up, like the Mazda3, or tC,and so on.
    Heard they may have a hybrid by 2010. By 2010,almost everyone else selling vehicles in USA will have clean diesels, getting 40-50 MPG, w/o the worry of battery packs needing replaced.(I also checked out Toyota sales... Yaris and Prius gaiined, rest of car line up was down, for April, but the sales gains for a few vehicles lifted Toyota up in April 07 vs 06. MPG = sales).

    The Swift is coming, but only the 5 door( see the Suzuki news on this link, other threads on here). The sx4 sedan is being advertised as sharing many componenets to the Swift,but larger.

    take care/not offense
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