Car market

Some Facts about Suzuki: Its Best Cars, Why It Failed in North America

We’d like to share some information we’ve collected about the Suzuki car brand: several facts from its history and the gallery of the best vehicles ever made by Suzuki.

Suzuki is not as widely known as Ford or BMW, but the Japanese automaker has passed its own way and has its own history of success and failure deserving our attention.

Do you know that:

1. Foundation

Suzuki is a family company that was founded by Michio Suzuki in 1909. Originally it was the Suzuki Loom Works located in Hamamatsu (a small seacoast village) and engaged in making weaving looms for Japan’s silk industry. Michio Suzuki invented the weaving machine of a new type that was exported overseas.

2. Production

Today Suzuki is a multinational corporation producing cars, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), motorcycles, wheelchairs, small internal combustion engines, and outboard marine engines. The company has over 45,000 employees, 35 production facilities in 23 countries, and 133 distributors in 192 countries.

3. Sales

In terms of sales volume of automobiles in 2022, Suzuki, with over 600,000 sales, is the 2nd largest in Japan after Toyota.

The biggest market for Suzuki is India. in 2022, Maruti Suzuki (Indian division) was the 13th largest automaker in the world. Indian Suzuki already accounts for 60 percent of Suzuki’s global car production, and 45 percent of its profitability.

4. Ownership

As of May 2022, Toyota is Suzuki Motor Company’s third-largest shareholder with 4.94%. Suzuki’s potential has attracted larger automakers before. In the late ’90s, General Motors purchased a 20% stake in Suzuki and sold it all back in 2008. In 2009, Volkswagen bought a 20% stake in Suzuki but had to sell them in 2015.

5. Kei Cars

Suzuki is the second-largest producer of Kei cars in the world. Last year, it sold nearly 349,000 Kei cars, excluding light commercial ones. The No.1 Key car seller is Daihatsu, Toyota’s sister brand. 

6. North America

Unlike Toyota or Honda, Suzuki failed in the North American car market. The vehicles of the brand could not ‘take root’ in that land. The wide expanses of the continent proved unsuitable for small urban Suzukis. The American Suzuki Motor Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2011, and the Canadian Suzuki did the same two years later.

As they said, the reasons were a strong Yen, stringent US safety regulations, and too much focus on producing small cars.

Suzuki Canada still continues to offer parts and services to vehicles through its dealer network, and to sell motorcycles, ATVs, and outboard motors.

Suzuki Vehicles We Consider the All-Time Bests:

Suzuki Jimny a reputable off-roader and the longest-running nameplate of the brand

  • Production: 1970 – present
Suzuki Jimny 2nd generation
Suzuki Jimny

Suzuki owes its off-road reputation almost entirely to the Jimny. The SUV could create its own army of devotees despite its simplicity and unsafety and due to its remarkable off-road ability.

Suzuki Vitaraan unsung hero in SUV lore

  • Production: 1988 – present
2019 Suzuki Vitara SUV
2019 Suzuki Vitara

The first-gen Vitara was an affordable soft-roader that hit the market right between family cars and adventure wagons. It was a sales success in almost every market it entered.

Suzuki Swiftthe most demandable Suzuki nowadays

  • Production: 2004 – present
2021 Suzuki Swift image
2021 Suzuki Swift

Suzuki L40Vthe company’s first electric vehicle

  • Production: 1970
Suzuki L40V
Suzuki Carry L40V for Ōsaka Expo 1970

A tiny van based on the Suzuki Carry was an experimental limited-run vehicle designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro to show what Suzuki was capable to build.

Suzuki Cappucino an extravagant roadster from Japan’s ‘bubble era’ of motoring

  • Production: 1991 – 1998
Suzuki Cappuccino 1991-98
1991-1998 Suzuki Cappuccino

That cool, tiny, 2-door, 2-seater, detachable hardtop sports car with a 657 cc 3-cylinder turbocharged engine and rear-wheel drive was a recreation of the dream about a sporting image for Suzuki.

Suzuki Frontea surreal marketing ploy of the period

  • Production: 1962– 1988
1985 Suzuki Fronte image
1985 Suzuki Fronte

The weird, rear-engined, rear-wheel-drive car was a runaway sales hit of the time and a spiritual successor of the Suzuki Alto.

Suzuki SC100 / Whizzkid / Cervo helped popularise Suzuki outside of Japan and make a shift to larger cars

  • Production: 1977- 1998, 2006–2009
Suzuki Whizzkid
Suzuki SC100

And a modern pretty Suzuki Ignis has the same styling signature…

Suzuki Wagon R one of the first vehicles with a short and high wagon-type body and Japan’s best-selling K-car since 2003

  • Production: 1993 – present
Suzuki Wagon R image
Suzuki Wagon R

The uniquely-designed Wagon R is comfortable enough to carry family passengers or to perform the job of an odd minivan or a standard hatchback. The vehicles like this started the trend of building cars beyond K-car regulations.

Suzuki Kizashian example of an excellent car that suffered from low sales

  • Production: 2009 – 2014
Suzuki Kizashi sedan
2010 Suzuki Kizashi

Despite its good styling, ride, handling, space, technical features, and laudative expert reviews, the sedan failed in sales, arguably because of the global economic crisis and the exit of Suzuki from the North American market.

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