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Suzuki's US Future -- Good or Dismal

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  • delthekingdeltheking Posts: 1,152
    I dont know why they are still in US. Dismal sales,cheapo stigma ,poor dealer network and service and horrible resale- they just are doomed here.

    I had a thought. Why did they not buy Saturn? They could have the 350 dealer network,no haggle price and could make all models as Saturn and thus maintain a US presence. Saturn is fairly well known. It could have been succcesful.Still wonder why they did not do it? :shades: :confuse:
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,049
    One of the conspiracy theories behind the failed Penske/Saturn deal is that GM didn't want to hand over a functional dealer network to a car company that would take sales away from them. Easier to wipe out the dealers.

    Suzuki does well in other countries. I don't know what they need to do here to make it work, but they aren't spending enough money or working hard enough to make it happen.

    There's a lot of people who really like the cars who won't buy because they don't trust that their dealer will be around to provide parts and warranty service in a year or two.

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  • Mitsubishi land right now, this Suzuki kei-class WagonR just looks good to me for the moment. I do this all the time. But it's like looking at a perty girl at an NBA game for just a few minutes. And then suddenly the cameraman spazzes out and can't find her anymore.

    It's not gonna last. I'm all Mitsu for the foreseeable future, baby.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,049
    "Auto Observer has picked up an article appearing the current print issue of CAR in which Georg Kacher makes a case that Suzuki could be in Volkswagen AG's hands by the end of the year. The draw for VW is thought to be Suzuki's production capacity in China, India, Indonesia and Thailand. India appears to be a likely candidate for Up! production."

    Will Volkswagen Take Over Suzuki? (Straightline)

    image

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  • that is indeed what it looks like might happen. And that is so lame and depressing. I like the new Kizashi sedan from Suzuki and I really like the SX-4 crossover hatch, too. Was getting excited about the SX-4 enough in late '06 and early '07 that I thought I wanted to buy one of them. Oh well. Such is and such as business decisions go this one might have to be made.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    one brand with a minor presence in the U.S. is buying a chunk of another brand with virtually no presence at all in the U.S? How very global of them....

    I like the look of the new Kizashi (but would never buy one with the totally lousy dealer network Suzuki has here). I'm sure VW won't concern itself with Suzuki's product offerings anywhere except India and southeast Asia.

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

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,049
    Here's another reason for VW to invest in Suzuki:

    Can VW Overtake Toyota and GM, To Become #1 By 2010?

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  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,679
    ...And yet another reason:

    This link may be a year and half old, but VW has long wanted to own a motorcycle manufacturer.

    http://thekneeslider.com/archives/2008/04/16/volkswagen-looking-for-a-motorcycle- - - - -manufacturer/

    Now most of the news buzz has been focused on the Asian business aspect, but I can't help but think that Piech (a Ducati rider) is really looking forward to putting some fast miles on a Suzuki Hayabusa, or maybe a GSX-R1000. Sort of frosting on the cake, if you will. ;)

    http://www.suzukicycles.com/Product%20Lines/Cycles/Categories/Sportbike.aspx

    Bob
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    has appeared at AN this week, talking about Suzuki and Mitsubishi and their comparative outlooks in the U.S. I am firmly convinced that neither has more than a few years left in the U.S. market. The director of Suzuki doesn't totally disagree:

    Suzuki reached the long-sought sales milestone of 100,000 units in 2006. But since then it has lost three rebadged cars built by Daewoo, leaving big holes in Suzuki's lineup.

    The Kizashi, which debuts this month, is seen as key to plugging them. The mid-sized sedan was designed to tackle the U.S. market.

    But although it is priced against segment leaders such as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, it's smaller.

    Toshihiro Suzuki, Suzuki Motor Corp.'s chief director of overseas sales, says the Kizashi isn't Suzuki's last chance. But he conceded that a flop would mean rethinking Suzuki's U.S. market position.

    ....Suzuki sales were off 55 percent through November, its share slipping to 0.4 percent from 0.7 percent for the first 11 months of 2008 .

    Both (Suzuki and Mitsubishi) are heading for a third year of operating losses in North America. Indeed, the success of new products arriving in the next 12 months may determine whether the two brands have a future in this country.

    The haunting precedent is Isuzu, which let its U.S. lineup and market share wither until it became, in January 2009, the first big Japanese brand to quit the United States.

    .....Both Mitsubishi and Suzuki say they are committed to staying in the United States. But a big hurdle is simply getting on people's shopping lists, analysts say.

    "The hardest problem is getting you to consider the car when no one you know drives one," says Kurt Sanger, an auto analyst with Deutsche Securities in Tokyo. "They are so small, they don't even have a brand image."

    It is also clear that emerging markets, such as India, China and Russia, are taking priority for both companies.

    Suzuki -- which sold a 20 percent stake of the company to Volkswagen AG last week -- has a head start against rivals in India and wants to keep it.

    .....At Suzuki, it's a similar picture. North America chipped in only 2 percent of total global sales of 1.04 million vehicles in the first half.

    Last month Suzuki announced it was building a $220 million factory to assemble compact cars in Thailand. Two weeks later it abandoned its manufacturing center in North America: the CAMI joint venture with General Motors Co.

    "Pulling out could be one of the easiest options," says Koji Endo, an auto analyst for Advanced Research Japan, noting that the growth markets for Mitsubishi and Suzuki are elsewhere. But for now, both remain entrenched in the United States.

    ....Suzuki's dealer count has fallen sharply as well. After growing from 341 dealers in 2000 to 460 last summer, Suzuki has lost nearly 100 dealers in the past year, including its top-three volume franchises.

    If new products don't pull the two brands out of their American funk, they may have no choice but to refocus on other markets.


    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091214/RETAIL03/312149967/1- 078

    The dealer network stinks to high heaven, and THAT'S not a problem that is going to be fixed in the next few years. They have to import all their cars from Japan, which hits them with the yen exchange rate problem same as it does for all the big Japanese car companies. And the Kizashi? People might buy it as the "big compact", but Americans mostly won't buy an undersized midsize sedan. Look how much Legacy and Mazda6 sales jumped when they upsized those models this year.

    I can't recall the last time I saw a Suzuki TV ad. If I were a betting man, I would bet against them at this point......

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

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,049
    Unless mini-cars take off here in a big way. But this story shows off Suzuki's expertise in that market:

    Suzuki and VW Agree to Develop Small, Inexpensive Car for Developing Countries (Green Car Advisor)

    image

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    the headlines this morning, then my computer got slow and I ran out of time, but AN has a headline today that indicates Suzuki may be thinking of abandoning the U.S. market in order to concentrate on expanding their market share in Asia.

    I don't doubt it would make sense for them to do so....

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

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,049
    Sounds like they are ramping up in India too.

    And VW may want more of Suzuki for the Asia sales growth.

    Suzuki not interested in further offers from Volkswagen (caradvice.com.au)

    Found the Automotive News link.

    "Suzuki said: "Suzuki Motor Corp. is fundamentally thinking of centering its business around Asia."

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    This sounds fairly definitive to these ears...

    Asked whether Suzuki might leverage its VW ties to bolster its business in the United States, Suzuki said: "Suzuki Motor Corp. is fundamentally thinking of centering its business around Asia."

    And then of course the sales numbers are truly dismal. What will cause dealers to want to keep the franchise?

    What's weird is they have only JUST made all this fuss over the debut of the Kizashi. I have seen all these print ads, didn't I even see a TV spot? This must be a very sudden reversal of thinking.

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

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,679
    A great car, in just about ever respect. Clearly Suzuki has a winner here. Same with the Grand Vitara and the SX4 models, all very good vehicles—and among the best looking Asian cars on the market. It would be a real shame if they were to pull out of the USA now—and we, the car buyers, would be the losers.

    In fact I just got a gym-rat friend of mine all interested in the Kizashi. I did warn him, however, of Suzuki's precarious position here.

    Bob
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    LOS ANGELES -- American Suzuki Motor Corp. is offering to buy out its lowest-volume dealers to get them to walk away from their troubled franchises.

    But executives insist, despite plunging sales, that Suzuki has no plans to leave the United States. The company says it's courting former Saturn dealers willing to commit to a new franchise.

    The buyout program, which will be announced this week, won't be available to all dealers. Suzuki has identified "a few dozen" of its 354 dealerships that it considers to be chronic underachievers and will meet with them to offer terms to close, said Gene Brown, Suzuki's vice president of marketing.


    http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100322/RETAIL07/303229951/1- 422

    Hmmm, "a few dozen", huh? Six dozen would be 20% of their already-tiny dealer network. We have already heard from Suzuki Japan that they are wondering if they have a viable product plan for the U.S. going forward, now we have Suzuki America buying out all the lowest-performing dealers. I don't think they are going to find many takers among former Saturn dealers. Why would those folks want to get into a dying brand when they just HAD a brand die on them??

    Prediction: there are 3, maybe 5, years left for Suzuki cars in the U.S.?

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

  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    >

    I'll take the under.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,709
    edited March 2010
    how many years Suzuki has left in the U.S. But the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi is one great vehicle. I test drove one a week ago in Henderson, NV. The dealer is about 8 miles from the Las Vegas Strip.

    The Kizashi I test drove was an automatic and it does have a peppy and smooth upkick to it's 2.4L 4 cyl motor. The knobs and switches are all pretty easy to follow and use. The Rockford Fosgate 425-watt stereo needs a further look-see from me, but it wouldn't break any deal I might make.

    The Kizashi runs over the bumps and rough spots and flattens them out for you. The steering is true and overall the car rides like a dream.

    I can't seem to find a Platinum Silver Metallic 2010 Suzuki Kizashi with a 6-speed tranny, though. I would look in to a test drive if I found one, for sure. I love the car.

    Mrs.iluvmysephia1 will not be agreeable to trading our 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS in. But I will work on it. It has certainly gotten underneath my skin. More on this later. :)

    image

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    I am willing to bet it's a very good car. Now go out and test drive it back to back with the Mazda3s, the Mitsu Lancer Ralliart, the Nissan Sentra SER, the new Kia Forte 2.4, the Jetta 2.5, heck throw in a Corolla XRS and Civic EX for good measure, not to mention my fave, the Impreza.

    Then ask yourself if Suzuki has any real hope of finding their way back to a sufficient sales volume on the back of this model alone. To do so, Kizashi has to be head and shoulders AND THEN SOME above the rest. From what I've read, it is a competent model and a decent value, but that's not the same thing at all.

    If there were a dealer within 50 miles, I might go and see for myself.....

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

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,709
    edited April 2010
    at the 2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport. Available at a Suzuki not-so-near-you in August of 2010. Here's a polar white one for you to enjoy.

    image

    They've added some body cladding, lowered the frame 10mm for sling-angle during cornering, they've added a perforated-leather Sport steering wheel, some fancy new chrome work up in the front around the foglights. Also, notice just up and to the right of the foglights. There's orange turn signal indicators there!

    I also notice a new black strip of decor in the upper grille section. Up above in this picture you'll see the sunlight shining off of it. Also there's some new body side moulding in chrome added for the Sport. Notice the new 18" wheel design as well. This is the Kizashi I have set my sights on. I want either a Vivid Red, Platinum Silver Metallic one, or a Polar White one just like this. The GTS variant is the one I want with a 6-speed transmission.

    These will hit your Suzuki dealer in August of 2010 and pricing will be competitve to the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS. For example, the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi GTS I wanted, with a 6-speed manual transmission, was going to cost me about $23,400. The 2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport with a 6-speed manual transmission is said to "cost nearly the same" as the 2010 GTS model in 6-speed form.

    Translated I am willing to bet my 2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport in 6-speed form will run about $23,795. Or thereabouts. Doesn't matter that much to me. This thing is truly a flaming bargain. And I have driven one, too. Though it was a CVT automatic tranny model. Not going that way with my new Kizashi. Must have a 6-speed manual tranny for mine.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,709
    Suzuki's future in the U.S. is as strong as Phil Jackson's _ _ _ _ _.

    Now that's strong, eh?

    image
    2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • berriberri Posts: 4,213
    Don't know about cars, but they made a nice crotch rider in the 60's.

    As for cars, I'd be concerned about getting hosed on resale at trade in.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,709
    I have a history of buying what I like, not what I think others will give me at trade in time. The 2011 Suzuki Kizashi Sport in 6-speeds, bodykit, rear deck spoiler, 425-watt Rockford Fosgate stereo, 10-way adjustable driver's seat, sunroof, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, leather-wrapped gearknob, and foglights for only $22,789 would suit me just fine come August of 2010.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,049

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  • delthekingdeltheking Posts: 1,152
    Time for them to pack up and go . :P

    I had wondered why they did not buy Saturn. They could have sold the Kizashi as a redesigned Aura . Dealership network was good and Saturns have very positive dealer ratings with no haggle buying. Would have been a perfect fit for Suzuki especially when the Penske deal did not go through.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,049
    edited August 2010
    Well, the blurb I linked (or maybe it was a comment) said Suzuki is are a conservative company that's never lost money.

    Can't imagine they are making a lot in the US though.

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  • delthekingdeltheking Posts: 1,152
    Suzuki is the largest car manufacturer in India and has a huge presence in South East Asia. The losses in US are covered by the huge profits over there.Otherwise they would have folded long time ago. It`s tough for them to re-establish here,impossible really. Better option is to buy an existing brand like Chrysler or Dodge if they go bankrupt again. That`s the only way they can survive here. :shades:
  • Hello,
    I want to know why Suzuki can't do what Hyundai did. In the 80's-90's, Hyundai was not a good car at all, esp in the 80's. Look where they are now. No, there cars aren't as good as Toyota, Honda, or Subaru, but they are ok. You would think buy now Suzuki could have pulled a Hyundai and pulled them self up to a greater status than they are now. I would Drive an SX4 or Kazashi over anything Hyundai/Kia.
    Any reason for this? It's not like they are broke...they have a huge presence overseas and have a "motorcycle" division....

    joe
  • I don't know why Suzuki hasn't exerted themselves more. Lack of funding for their automobiles section? They are many other things, motorcycles of course, etc. But don't fear they're going away, they're not.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693
    edited December 2010
    The thing about the American market is, you really have to go AFTER it. When Hyundai had a solid product line ready for the U.S. (the second time around) and decided it was time to make their comeback, they spent ten TONS of money on advertising and extended their warranty to 100K miles. They were the first to do it, so it was a good advertising trick to get people to notice them at the time.

    Suzuki, if it were serious about staying here, would need to do the same - actually ADVERTISE occasionally (GASP! What a concept!), develop more than one or two decent models, come up with something, anything, to set it apart from the 28 other Japanese brands for sale here, and use it to get the brand noticed so that people know the name.

    Then they could do the other thing Hyundai did, go out and aggressively recruit dealers so that their dealer network were more than the ghost of a joke it is today, a network of dealers who all have 8 brands each or more, some of whom have sales staff that aren't even aware they SELL Suzukis.

    When Suzuki does all of that, it will have a chance of staying in the U.S. more than the next few years. Alas, they don't have the funding to do it, and the Kizashi was therefore their last best shot.

    I have great respect for Suzuki and would love to see more of their JDM models for sale in the U.S., but the debut of the Kizashi has attended another precipitous plummet of their sales by 46% or something this year. The clock is ticking, mark my words.....

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

  • I like the idea of Suzuki needing another couple of vehicles to add to their line up. And I'm not talking some little Daewoo with a Suzuki badge either. I think the SX4 Crossover and Kizashi, (name may be to Japanese for some people), are unique vehicles. There used to be a commercial no to long ago for the SX4, it was rather....."queer", I mean tha in a wierd way....it had a SX4 going down the road with a red cape on it's back, like Superman, saying how it was a mini fighter....why mini fighter? It's the same size as other cars in it's class...I guess it's a way to generate sales...anyway....they could make a more serious commercial, talk of the warranty, mention awards, talk of AWD, show how it smokes cars like the Dodge Calibur, anything small from Chevy, it's certainly better than Kia, in my opinion...THEN show the other autos in it's line up...Kizashi, Vitara, Equator....In your opinion do you think Suzuki automobiles can hang in there for the long haul, like a toyota or honda? Can one pull 175,000-200,000 out of the 2.0liter 4cylinder they make? what do you think?
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