Suzuki Pulls Out of U.S. Market
Do you have a soft spot for Suzuki cars? Better get one while you can. Suzuki is pulling out of the American marketplace.
According to this Financial Times article, the importer of Suzuki cars, trucks, and SUVs has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In the quarter that ended in June, the company sold just 8,000 vehicles in America, the article said. That’s just 1% of the brand’s worldwide sales total.
Perhaps its best-known product in recent years was the midsize Kizashi sedan marketed as a nimble alternative to mainstream entries such as the Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, and Nissan Altima, among others. Though the Kizashi got good reviews– this one, for example– it was too late to save a company that had suffered a one-two punch of lousy GM-Daewoo collaborations rebadged as Suzuki compact cars (here’s looking at you, Suzuki Reno) and the global financial crisis.
According to American Suzuki Motor Company Chief Financial Officer M. Freddie Reiss, “After the global subprime recession began in 2008, the debtor’s continental US automotive sales declined along with the rest of the US automotive industry.” Those words came from a court filing made during the bankruptcy proceedings of American Suzuki Motor Company, which managed imports of Suzuki models to the United States and the brand’s presence in the American market.
After ridding itself of cancerous GM as the American auto giant faced its worst days, word had it Suzuki and Volkswagen tried to get together in some sort of cooperative agreement, but any agreement between the two quickly fizzled.
All hope is not lost, however. Suzuki plans to continue selling motorcycles and ATVs– for which the brand is much better-known in the United States– and the silver, swooshy “S” badge will still be seen on cars all over Asia, especially the southeast of the continent. There, Suzuki is doing quite a bit better than it has in America, according to the Financial Times article. In India, the article said, Maruti Suzuki controls half the market and is expecting an $873 million profit for the year.
With that, we say goodbye to the brand that brought us memorable cars such as the Swift. Who knows? In these times of high fuel prices, the modern-day Swift might be a good way to reintroduce the brand to Americans again after the company emerges from bankruptcy.