Suzuki: "Winners Never Quit"

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Thread: Suzuki: "Winners Never Quit"

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    GMI Contributor Premium Member Ming's Avatar
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    Suzuki: "Winners Never Quit"

    Winners Never Quit
    Jerry Flint



    When I think of Suzuki Motor, I think of that old American saying: "Winners never quit and quitters never win."

    Suzuki has been selling vehicles in the United States for 20 years, and it hasn't won anything yet. Over two decades, the Japanese automaker has averaged a miserable 45,000 sales per year in this country.

    It may surprise you to learn that Suzuki is a successful company. I can't think of another automaker that can brag that it has been profitable for 56 consecutive years. Suzuki sells more than 2 million vehicles per year, and more than half of those sales are outside of Japan. In its homeland, Suzuki is No. 4 in sales, behind Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor and Honda Motor. In fact, Suzuki sells more than twice as many vehicles in Japan as Mazda Motor, Mitsubishi Motors or Subaru. And in its latest fiscal year, which ended in March of 2004, it earned $415 million.

    Suzuki's specialty is in mini-vehicles, which are quite popular in Japan. In fact, Suzuki has been the leading mini-vehicle seller in Japan for more than 30 years. In Europe, Suzuki sold 165,000 vehicles last year, and it's the dominant producer in India. But in the U.S., it sold only 74,000 cars and light trucks last year, and that was Suzuki's best year here since 1987.

    A little recent history: Back in 1990, Suzuki was so ambitious that it put up a Canadian assembly plant in a joint venture with General Motors. The factory had a capacity for 205,000 vehicles per year, but production never got close. At the moment, that facility is just building the Chevrolet Equinox sport utility vehicle.

    The trouble is that Suzuki is best at making small cars and trucks, and U.S. consumers just don't like them that small. Just about five years ago, Suzuki executives finally came to that realization, admits Koichi Suzuki, president of automotive operations for American Suzuki. Even its XL-7 SUV, which is big for Suzuki, is still small for this market, says Koichi, who is no relation to the founding Suzuki family.

    Will Suzuki quit and go home? Not a chance. Koichi Suzuki has a new plan and goal. His plan is to offer lots of new vehicles, and his goal is to generate 200,000 annual sales by 2007.

    Nine new models are in Koichi Suzuki's vehicle plan. Four of them are out already, and we know about two others. Already on the U.S. market: the Verona, a compact sedan about the size of a Honda Accord; the smaller Forenza sedan and station wagon; and the new Reno subcompact.

    Two new sport utility vehicles are in the works. This fall, the X2 arrives from Japan. This vehicle is a small SUV that will be available with four- and six-cylinder engines. Sometime in 2006, Suzuki will introduce a larger SUV, which will be built in Canada in the factory that makes the popular Chevy Equinox, and will be based off that Chevy's architecture. This is expected to be a strong seller, maybe 40,000 to 50,000 per year.

    Suzuki sales were up 26.5% last year, and Suzuki has a few factors working in its favor.

    The Verona and Forenza cars are built by what used to be Daewoo of Korea, which is now controlled by General Motors. Suzuki owns a bit of the Korean manufacturer, too, and GM owns 20% of Suzuki. But GM doesn't control Suzuki. Thanks to that Korean operation, Suzuki was able to quickly get a line of bigger cars into the market.

    Higher gasoline prices make little vehicles more attractive--at least that's the theory. Suzuki currently offers a 100,000-mile warranty, one of the best in the business. The company now has 540 U.S. dealers, with 60% having distinct Suzuki showrooms. Suzuki, which is pushing a new showroom design, aims to expand to 600 dealers. And the company is working on three other new models.



    Suzuki is also targeting the tuner market, in which drivers modify cars to look hot and go fast. This is an important demographic group that's mostly male and young. Since Suzuki cars are low-priced to start, there's a chance of success in this market. Of course, the competition is tough. Toyota's Scion may be the new Mr. Big on Tuner Boulevard.

    Full Article Here: http://www.forbes.com/columnists/200...0222flint.html


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    Re: Suzuki: "Winners Never Quit"

    Their theta based suv looks really well done from the spy shots and its definetly not just a rebadge (torrent). Thats really interesting to know that theyve been consistently profitable like that, you wouldnt really think so.

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    Re: Suzuki: "Winners Never Quit"

    I remember hearing a couple of years ago that as far as recalls are concerned, Suzuki rates up there with the best (hardly any). That shows signs of quality. Although I would personally never buy a Suzuki, I would definitely consider them before Hyundai or Kia. I can just hope that Suzuki keeps their product blitz going, and can steal some sales away from the other Korean manufacturers. Quitters never win.

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    Re: Suzuki: "Winners Never Quit"

    I think Suzuki is best for countries with not such big streets. That after all is what their cars are good for. Maybe they should stop focusing so much on the american crowd and a liitle more focus on the Japanese crowd. So many americans have no need for a tiny car, they need big ones. Out of the 11 households on my block (Cardiff Dr.) I can think of 2 househols that have smaller cars, but they are still compact SUV's.

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    Re: Suzuki: "Winners Never Quit"

    Nice to see another Santa Clarita person up on the board!
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    Re: Suzuki: "Winners Never Quit"

    I like the looks of the Aerio, only if they offered a performance version..

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    Re: Suzuki: "Winners Never Quit"

    GM should bring Suzuki to Mexico instead of FIAT. The kind of vehicles Suzuki makes ll be a hit here.

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    Re: Suzuki: "Winners Never Quit"

    I havn't seen any new Suzuki's latly.But from the pictures i have seen of them they don't look to bad.

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    Re: Suzuki: "Winners Never Quit"

    What do you mean "focus" on small cars. In Japan Suzuki's kick a**, they have Suzuki Sport which provides performance parts and they even have there own race series. They also won the junior World Cup Rally last year (2004). It's rumored by 2006 that they might move up to the World Cup Rally.

    They know how to "focus".

    Philip

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    Re: Suzuki: "Winners Never Quit"

    Wait no i think i saw one on the high way the other day.But anyways GO SUZUKI
    Last edited by spudglo08; 02-24-2005 at 09:04 PM.

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    Re: Suzuki: "Winners Never Quit"

    Was this article penned by THE "Jerry Flint" (Hustler magazine fame)?? ;-)

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    Re: Suzuki: "Winners Never Quit"

    Oops.... my bad. I got him confused with Larry Flint.

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