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Sam Swope hops on Suzuki bandwagon; Japanese company aims to triple U.S. sales
ROBERT SCHOENBERGER
The Courier-Journal

By 2007, Suzuki Motor Co. aims to more than triple the number of cars and sport utility vehicles it sold in the United States last year, and Louisville's Sam Swope auto dealerships hope to play a part in that.

Swope began selling Suzukis this year on one of the company's former used-car lots on Dixie Highway. Early next year, the dealer plans to open a new Suzuki facility.

"We think it's a high-quality brand with a very attractive price point," said Patty Swope, vice president of marketing for the chain, which also sells BMW, General Motors, Toyota and Honda brands.

The Swope dealership will be the third Suzuki franchise in the area. Budget Car Sales in the St. Matthews area also sells new Suzukis, as does Slone Suzuki & Daewoo in Jeffersonville, Ind. Patty Swope said Suzuki asked the Swopes to open their dealership on the south side of Louisville to cover a wider area.

Sales are up 24 percent so far this year, because of the new compact Forenza sedan and the mid-sized Verona. Sales of the two European-styled sedans have offset falling numbers for Suzuki's stable of small SUVs.

General Motors-owned Daewoo builds the sedans in South Korea. GM also owns 20 percent of Suzuki.

Building in South Korea gives Suzuki a price advantage. A fully loaded version of the Verona costs $21,244, including destination fees. A similarly equipped Toyota Camry, the best-selling mid-sized car in the United States, would cost more than $28,000.

Swope said GM is throwing a lot of support behind the new vehicles because they give it the chance to compete with Kia and Hyundai, South Korean automakers that have taken large chunks of U.S. market share, especially with entry-level cars.

Swope said buyers are often surprised to see traditional sedans with the Suzuki logo. Until last year, Suzuki sold only SUVs and odd-shaped compact cars in the United States.

"Most of the people who have bought them were surprised by what they saw," Swope said. "If we can get past the old image of the Suzuki Samurai and get it on people's shopping lists, I think they'll like them."



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i just got home to alaska and all i can do is :eek:

i mean i have seen more suzukis than kia's, and sadly that is an improvement. i know of 20 brand new forenza (S?) and at least 30 voronas (S?) and quite a few ario(S?) (if you cant tell i dont really pay much attenchen to suzuki products and never really learned there names, i kinda know what they are called so these past three were guesses.) anyway the amazing part about this is that only a year ago i would only see maybe 10 ario's and that would be ALL of the new suzukis, maybe a few SUV's.

the most amazing part is that in one year the population of new suzukies has built probably by 10 fold, and that is on an island, with 0 suzuki dealerships.

ps 16,000 people in my city...


simply amazing.... i really thought they were a lost cause... in the usa anyway...
 
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