When the brightest news you share about your brand is a couple of facelifts and the inclusion of a factory-installed Garmin GPS unit in the next model year, things aren’t going all that well at your company. But, when we inquired with American Suzuki (and Suzuki Canada) about the future of the brand, we did get some interesting information that didn’t seem important enough in Brea, California to publish a press release.
Melissa Fujimoto has a tough job at the smallest non-luxury automotive brand in the US: damage control. After being with American Suzuki on the promotions end of the business, she has the pleasure of filling former PR extraordinaire Jeff Holland’s shoes who left the company earlier in the year.
Where things get really interesting is on the marketing side. Former head of marketing, Steve Younan, who silently slipped out the door of the American Suzuki headquarters in January, has been permanently replaced by newly minted Marketing Manager David Ossenmacher, who’s been with American Suzuki since 2010. Mr. Ossenmacher has an interesting professional past, including nine years with Nissan North America and another three with Hyundai North America during the doldrum product years of the early 2000s (Remember the Hyundai XG? No, we don’t either.) After parting ways with the Korean marque in 2003, David left the automotive industry altogether…to sell houses.
When Melissa Fujimoto replied to my inquiry about Suzuki’s future, the first thing mentioned was Suzuki having “one of the most aggressive financing offers in the industry and our popular 0% for 72 months has been extended into July,” promptly followed by a reconfirmation of facelifts and other features which aren’t new news.
But, maybe this is the line American Suzuki will be towing for the next 12-24 months, as Mr. Ossenmacher tries to sell the outdated imports like cheap properties on the most undesirable corner of Detroit.