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Suzuki, Automotive News
Jan 05, 2012 (2:19 pm)
THE WORD KAZASHI MEANS "GREAT THINGS TO COME" IN JAPANESE. I HAVE BEEN A GENERAL MANAGER OVER 8 CAR FRANCHISES (HYUNDAI,MAZDA,VOLKSWAGON,MITSUBISHI,SUZUKI,LINCOLN,FORD,FIAT) GOING ON MY 22ND YEAR. I HAVE BEEN A SUZUKI DEALER SINCE MAY OF 1988. HERE IS MY OPINION OF AMERICAN SUZUKI MOTOR CORPORATION'S FUTURE IN THE U.S. MARKET.
I PERSONALLY THINK THAT THEY WILL PULL OUT OF THE U.S. MARKET BY THE END OF 2013. I BELIEVE THAT THE FOLLOWING REASONS HAVE ATTRIBUTED TO WHAT WILL BE THEIR DEMISE:
1-THEY HAVE NO NEW MODELS BEING INTRODUCED TO THE U.S. FOR 2012. THE SWIFT HAS STOPPED PRODUCTION AND WILL REMAIN THAT WAY.
2-THEY HAVE ANNOUNCED A 0 DOLLAR ADVERTISING BUDGET FOR 2012 IN THE U.S . YET THEY ARE SPENDING BILLIONS ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD MARKET,
3-SUZUKI WILL NO LONGER PARTICIPATE OR HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH JD POWERS AND ASSOCIATES AFTER DEC 2011
4-NOT ENOUGH DEALERS TO HELP THEM SELL OR SERVICE SUZUKI VEHICLES FOR THE AMERICAN PUBLIC. THEY WERE GREATLY AFFECTED BY THE CLOSING OF MANY "LOW VOLUME " SUZUKI DEALERSHIP. CLOSINGS THAT WERE BROUGHT ON BY THE FACT THAT ANYBODY COULD OWN A SUZUKI FRANCHISE (EVEN FELONS) IN THE 1990'S
5-ALL PARTS TO REPAIR SUZUKI VEHICLES, MOST OF WHICH ARE NOT AVAILABLE IN THE AFTER MARKET WORLD, TAKE 5 DAYS FOR DEALERS TO RECIEVE. WAY TO LONG IN TODAYS SOCIETY.
6-AFTER BARELY RECOVERING FROM THE SAMARAI ROLLOVER ISSUE THAT ALMOST SHUT THEIR CAR DIVISION DOWN. THEY COME OUT WITH DAE-WOO KNOCKOFF VEHICLES THAT TARNISHED THIER VEHICLE LINES EVEN MORE AND IT IS VERY HARD TO OVERCOME.
7-VOLKSWAGON AND SUZUKI WILL NEVER ACTUALLY PRODUCE AND SELL A JOINT VENTURE VEHICLE IN THE U.S. BOTH #1 TOP VEHICLE EXECUTIVES ARE WAY TO ARROGANT AND WILL CAUSE ENOUGH CONFLICT TO STOP THAT VENTURE.
8-SUZUKI RUNS THE AMERICAN DIVISION JUST AS THEY DO THE JAPANESE DIVISION. THEY ADAPT FOR NO ONE.
9-THOUGH THE KAZASHI AND THE SX4 ARE VERY GOOD VEHICLES AND A START FOR THE RECOVERY OF THE SUZUKI OF AMERICA SALVATION. IT IS WAY TO LITTLE, WAY TO LATE.
10-SUZUKI HAS BEEN SUED AND LOST MORE LAWSUITS IN AMERICA THAN ANY OTHER CAR COMPANY. HOW DARE THOSE PESKY AMERICANS SUE THE MIGHTY SUZUKI FAMILY.
THESE ARE THE REASONS THAT SUZUKI WILL NO LONGER BE A VIABLE PLAYER IN THE U.S. MARKET.
ON THAT NOTE, IF MITSUBISHI'S NEW LINE OF CUTTING EDGE ELECTRICAL VEHICLES ARE NOT OVERWHELMINGLY SUCCESSFUL. AS I THINK THEY WILL BE, THEY WILL BE THE NEXT VEHICLE LINE DROPPING FROM THE U.S. MARKET.
#161 of 204 Those CAPITAL LETTERS...
Jan 14, 2012 (5:40 am)
are killin' me! Ouch.
#162 of 204 Re: Those CAPITAL LETTERS... [iluvmysephia1]
Jan 14, 2012 (10:00 pm)
And yet, I would echo about 8 out of the 10 points he made, and in fact I may have been first to present them in this forum in about 5 of those cases.....
I think he's right about Mitsubishi too, but that one may take a little longer, and in both cases it does depend on how long the Japanese execs wish to drop pennies here and pennies there keeping their American networks alive. I doubt that for either it is a major corporate cost, but because North America generates so little profit for them they will never make the investment here that would be necessary to increase sales volume from the trickle it currently is.
#164 of 204 Re: WAVE GOODBYE [dealerworld]
Apr 04, 2012 (8:37 pm)
Sorry, what? The Swift has stopped production? Since when?! AFAIK it's still being produced at 8 factories around the world. The Samurai rollover issue was a US issue only. It never came close to shutting down their car division. You do know that Suzuki is one of the largest car manufacturers in the world, don't you? The fact that they can't get their act together in the US has got to be highly embarrassing to them, and the entire leadership in the US and Japan responsible for that should be fired, but most of what you wrote is simply misguided IMO.
#165 of 204 Re: Those CAPITAL LETTERS... [nippononly]
Apr 04, 2012 (8:47 pm)
Reading these threads I think a lot of people are far too narrow in their viewpoint. Mitsubishi sells much more in the US compared to Suzuki in the US, but in global terms Mitsubishi is in a far more delicate state. Suzuki is still profitable and can sustain the US operation as long as it needs to, if it wants to. The problem they have in the US, in my opinion, is that they simply don't make the cars that are popular in the US. At the very minimum, they don't important the versions that would sell better here.
Mitsubishi, on the other hand, is stuck with a capitalization problem globally and, locally, a production problem. They simply don't have any money for product development, and they've got a factory in the US that they can't unload and that is too old to switch/vary model production quickly enough.
I honestly think that Mitsubishi is more likely to leave the US market before Suzuki if for no other reason than they can't maintain losses like Suzuki does and if Suzuki were going to leave they would have done so already. After all, on sheer market numbers, Suzuki is not just an also-ran in the US, it's probably struggling to make it as a footnote for the last five years.
#166 of 204 Re: Those CAPITAL LETTERS... [lost18]
Apr 13, 2012 (9:43 pm)
I don't disagree with you - Suzuki Japan is in much better shape than Mitsu Japan is. But it is also in a tiff with VW, isn't it? Didn't I read somewhere that they could use some cash to buy out their share and end the "partnership" with VW? Imagine how much of that cash they could raise by quitting the U.S. market.....and why wouldn't they? The Kizashi, their biggest and best shot in many years BY FAR to improve sales here, has not lit the U.S. on fire, although it has sold better than the SX4 and been more critically acclaimed than older Suzuki models. If they choose to stay, I will be interested to see what else they develop for North America
#167 of 204 so how many dealers is that now?
Apr 16, 2012 (5:37 pm)
From Automotive News today:
Struggling Suzuki is shrinking in many ways.
Insiders say the company is slashing marketing while sales and the dealer roster dwindle.
The many signs of trouble:
-- In a market up 13 percent through March, Suzuki was down 2 percent to just 6,561 sales.
-- The brand skipped the Detroit and Los Angeles auto shows this year and suspended social media activity on Twitter and Facebook two months ago.
-- Steve Younan, the top U.S. product planning and marketing executive, left in January and will not be replaced. No national TV commercials have aired since 2009.
-- In January, Suzuki stopped getting customer satisfaction data from J.D. Power and Associates -- data that help track dealer performance. A memo obtained by Automotive News says another vendor will replace Power, but sources say no successor has surfaced.
-- The dealer body continues to shrink. The brand shed 32 franchises last year, nearly 12 percent of its total. The number of U.S. Suzuki franchises has dropped every year since 2005.
The company's strategy has become "very much focused on short-term profitability," says one source familiar with the company's recent cost-cutting moves who spoke on condition of anonymity. "They're limiting their future in the U.S."
26,000 sales in all of 2011? This quote from the article is at the crux of the problem of course: ""The problem is that, while it's not a bad product, it's not on anybody's radar to look at," Kay (a former dealer) says.
about 150 of Suzuki's remaining 246 dealers still sell five or fewer new cars per month, despite recent efforts to weed out poorly performing dealers.
with more than half of its dealers selling five or fewer vehicles in an average month, Suzuki still has many dealers unwilling to focus on Suzuki and adequately promote the brand in their local markets, Morrell says.
Many Suzuki dealers use their franchised-dealer status for easier access to financing to support big used-car operations, Morrell says.
And no replacement for the Grand Vitara in sight? Soon there will be less than 200 dealers for the entire country, and how hard is it going to become to get warranty service? The critical mass just doesn't exist here to keep sales going in the U.S. I will always wonder why they didn't bring over the Swift, one of their best-sellers globally.
This could all be turned around by a massive investment from the corporate offices in Japan - they need to seriously expand the dealer network (like double its size) and add two class-leading vehicles to the lineup, a midsize sedan and a proper Grand Vitara replacement. Then they need to blanket the airwaves with advertising so people actually consider a Suzuki when buying a car.
But why would they do all of that? The U.S. is a saturated market and there are better opportunities for growth in the world, especially for the size of the investment they would have to make to grow in the States.
The full article: http://www.autonews.com/article/20120416/RETAIL07/304169962/1117
#168 of 204 Going out of U.S. Market
Aug 09, 2012 (5:20 am)
They are leaving the U.S. market. I work at a Suzuki store! Everything points to them going out. You cant order cars, they came out with 0%x72 months to help clear inventories. They're no longer envolved with J.D. Powers. They dont advertise. No new models. I'd say by end of 2013 BYE BYE!
#169 of 204 Re: Going out of U.S. Market [hedgeman1]
Aug 09, 2012 (6:12 am)
I have owned a number of Suzuki's over the years. 3 Samurai's and 1 Sidekick.
Only the Sidekick got somewhat acceptable fuel economy given the size and weight of the vehicle. The Samurai's got absolutely terrible mileage. Granted it was a small barn door on wheels that also rode a bit tall in the saddle, but a 1.3 in that vehicle could have done so much better with different tuning and gearing. Having free wheeling front hubs helped, but only a little.
Then many years later their 4 door Sidekicks and whatever else that long 7 seater was called, all those things had an extremely thirsty V6 and its appetite for gas was ravenous for years and years with barely a 10th of a point better each year. Sort of like how thirsty Hyundai's V6 2.7 was in the Santa Fe for many years only actually worse.
And this was during a time that America was discovering their insatiable desire for SUV types, both 4x4 and FWD.
IMO, the only competitive fuel efficient cars they had for their size and weight were the Fireflys, Sprints, GEO's etc. The only problem with those cars was that they were not idiot-proof. In the right hands, those cars were very good cars with lots of longevity potential on few dollars. Sort of like the original Hyundai Pony only quite a bit better.
By the time Suzuki had offered a more fuel efficient (by competitor standards) AWD to market..the SX4 etc. the market had already lost confidence.
I think Suzuki should have cornered the market by offering a small turbo diesel in all their 4 wheel drive type vehicles, when everyone else had quit back around 1987 and earlier. This was long before stricter (politically driven/corrupt) emission standards dictated a squeezing out of diesel options in America and could have garnered the reputation for always having the diesel option when the likes of Toyota and Datsun (at the time) Mazda and Isuzu had dropped the ball.
There have been some interesting transplants of VW's older turbo diesel 1.6 into the Samurai. Between that, and air bag assisted suspension mods, it completely transformed that vehicle into one with loads of torque, great fuel economy, and exclusivity in spades. Suzuki should have had their own aluminum block (for lighter weight and better handling) TD in that, and later the Sidekick, ages ago.
Who knows, it might have made the difference in market share/strength to this day.