By on March 2, 2010

Subaru crushed it again this month [via PRNewswire], with the Outback and Forester both breaking 6,000 units of sale and overall sales up 38 percent. Suzuki, not so much [full release here]. Despite a recently-launched (and relatively well-received) C-segment sedan, the Japanese brand managed to sell only 1,375 cars last month. That’s fewer units than the Jeep Compass, and only slightly better than the Dodge Nitro and Buick Lucerne. On their own. Suzuki’s one sick puppy! Details after the jump.

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19 Comments on “Subaru Sales Stay Strong; Suzuki Going, Going, Gone...”

  • avatar

    With names like Suzuki and Mitsubishi, it will always be hard to sell cars.

    • 0 avatar

      I think that there’s bigger reasons than that.

      Do those sound more Japanese to you than do Honda and Toyota? Certainly some Japanese brands have adopted Western-derived names (Sony, Panasonic for Matsushita), although the Nissan/Datsun issue is far more complicated?

      Do they sound more foreign than Hyundai?

  • avatar

    Is there any truth to the rumor that Suzuki is a Mafia front company? That’s the only reason I can think of for their continued existence here…

  • avatar

    Does anyone know how many Suzuki dealers are left?

    If there are only a hundred of them, then that’s about 14 per dealer for the month or about one sale for every two days.

  • avatar

    One of my friends bought one of the 759 SX4s sold last month, on my favorite car buying day of the year, the last sales day of February. Screaming deal–hard to believe you can buy a not-stripped new car, much less a 4×4, for less than $14K OTD. Granted, it may not be so great a deal if she ends up needing service, and she went into the deal knowing that the dealer network may evaporate in the near future, so I imagine that’s factored into the price. SX4s are apparently pretty good little cars, though.

  • avatar

    Quit writing obituaries for Suzuki.They are good cars. They’re not at the bleeding edge like the motorcycles are but we’ve had good experiences with the cars we’ve had. Partnering with VW may/may not be a “Good Thing”. Only time will tell.

    • 0 avatar

      Suzuki are practically writing their own obituary, at least in the NA market. It’s not that they don’t make decent vehicles or offer good value, it’s that they’re simply not on anyone’s radar. If you walked up to a random person on the street and asked them what kind of vehicle a Suzuki Equator or XL7 is, how many people do you think would answer correctly? How many people even know that the Kizashi is available for sale?

    • 0 avatar

      You selected the pathetic rebadges on purpose, right? It’s a good thing people do not know what Equator and XL7 are, or else the reputation of the brand would’ve been ruined for sure.

    • 0 avatar

      “Pathetic rebadges” constitute 50% of Suzuki’s NA lineup, which is part of the problem.

    • 0 avatar

      ” It’s a good thing people do not know what Equator and XL7 are, or else the reputation of the brand would’ve been ruined for sure.”

      What reputation? I’m not sure there’s any “reputation” to uphold given that so few Americans are even aware that Suzuki makes cars.

  • avatar

    It’s rather odd. The world outside North America doesn’t have problems noticing and buying Suzuki cars. As a Grand Vitara owner, I notice an adequate stream of print and tv ads. The cars seem to be generally average quality and value. No doubt the rebranded models and the, um, attitude of CR have been damaging. But truedelta does not show poor reliability, and Suzuki offers some setups no one else does.

    Maybe it’s just herd instinct. People cover their behinds by buying what everyone else does. If it turns out to be a mistake, at least they can say lots of other people made the same mistake. Consider how many Suzuki vehicles would be sold if they were exactly the same except for Toyota nameplates. People would fall over themselves to buy SX4’s and Grand Vitaras.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Suzuki still sells cars in the US? Wow, who would have known?

  • avatar

    I just recieved 2 phone calls today concerning my ’03 Vitara. First one was 2 hours ago from Suzuki, and one an hour ago from the dealer who did a transmission repair one month from the end of the 7 year /100k warranty. She wanted to know how they did, and if I was happy. I told her their service was great (it was) but that the new syncros etc did not fix the very high effort shifting when cold, which has been going on for a few years in fact. She insisted I bring it back again, hinting at a possible new transmission. If they leave the USA market I for one, will be sad.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    The ownership split on is the following:

    Suzuki Forenza

    Would buy another Suzuki? 47%
    Would not buy another Suzuki? 39%

    Suzuki Grand Vitara

    Would buy another Suzuki? 62%
    Would not buy another Suzuki? 25%

    Suzuki Reno

    Would buy another Suzuki? 36%
    Would not buy another Suzuki? 45%

    Suzuki XL-7

    Would buy another Suzuki? 73%
    Would not buy another Suzuki? 17%

    Suzuki SX4

    Would buy another Suzuki? 82%
    Would not buy another Suzuki? 6%

    Equator and Kizashi have yet to be reviewed…

    We can draw two quick conclusions from this.

    1) Suzuki is pretty decent at making small SUV’s, which unfortunately have no market here.

    2) Suzuki may be very good at making small AWD compacts… which also have no market here.

    3) Suzuki is piss poor at making commuter vehicles. Cars like the Reno, Forenza and Aerio will not be remembered fondly.

    Overall, this is a good car company if you live in India or Central America. For the US market they’re too much of a niche player and their quality is middling at best.

    • 0 avatar

      The Reno and Forenza are rebadged Daewoos, so they’re dragging down the Suzuki name. I wonder if Suzuki was pressured by GM(partial owner at the time) to sell the other GM partner’s stuff?

      You need to consider who built which model for this analysis. Ultimately Suzuki is responsible for putting their name on this crap, so your conclusion has some validity.

  • avatar

    I would have considered a Suzuki SX4 when I was car shopping this past December but there is not a single dealer in Arkansas. Their dealer network is stretched really thin.

  • avatar

    I think brandloyalty is probably most correct as to why Suzuki has seemingly faded away – if my friends don’t own one, should I?

    I’ve spent a fair amount of time traveling around America, and I’m always interested that no matter where you go, there’s always some odd vehicle that you find in greatly disproportionate numbers to their national sales figures.

    Sure, there’s a reason that the state car of Utah is apparently a Subaru (and the the YuSuburbaHo is known as the BMW – Basic Mormon Wheels, but I digress…)

    And sure, there were only so many Citroens brought in, and they seem to gravitate to San Fran.

    But seemingly things like VehiCrosses, SVXs, TR8s, and such seem to be clustered in little bunches.

    Was the salesforce just good at moving that model in that neightborhood, or was it the natural human group dynamics?

  • avatar

    A month ago I was helping a friend shop for her first new car, and she had decided on an AWD 5-door automatic, which meant that the two lowest-price choices (in the U.S.) were the Suzuki SX4 Crossover and the Subaru Impreza 2.5i. We test-drove both (at two different branches of the Fitzgerald group in Maryland). They both had 16-inch wheels, 4-wheel disc brakes, and equivalent safety equipment.

    The Suzuki just wasn’t competitive, even at its much lower price. Attempts to accelerate quickly resulted in a lag of several seconds and awful groans from the drivetrain (whether from the CVT or the motor itself, I couldn’t tell). Although the Subie’s auto was only a 4-speed, it could move; it seemed like more of a real car, and had better crash test ratings as well. Another factor against the Suzuki was that cruise control (standard in the Impreza) was only available as part of a costly package that included features she didn’t want. EPA ratings are a little better for the Suzuki, but cargo space is noticeably smaller.

    In retrospect I’m glad we gave it a chance, but it just seemed silly to consider it seriously. However, I am amazed that only about 200 Kizashis are being sold per month; I presume this is because anyone considering a Kizashi on its merits is likely to be aware that their local Suzuki dealer may not be around much longer.

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