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Two U.S. domestic automakers have now entered and emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Other automakers that were doing well before the economic implosion are now scrambling to cut costs and get people into showrooms with creative incentives. And then there's Suzuki and Mitsubishi. While each brand offers a model or two that's genuinely competitive, neither has been able to fend off the huge sales decline that's hit the U.S. auto industry.

Suzuki sales in the U.S. were down a remarkable 78% last month, while Mitsubishi fared just a bit better with a 42% decline. These types of numbers have at least one analyst from Fukoku Capital Management, Inc. advising each Japanese brand to withdraw from the U.S. market altogether.

For its part, Mitsubishi says no way. Bloomberg quotes the company's president saying bluntly, "We will never give up the U.S. market." He went on to say that Mitsubishi won't seek alliances with other automakers or use its assembly plant in Illinois to build vehicles for other brands. In the meantime, Mitsubishi has shuttered its U.S. design studio and canceled the Raider pickup supplied by Chrysler.

Suzuki, meanwhile, has the Kizashi mid-size sedan on the way. Sales me be down now, but don't expect the automaker to pull out when it's got a potential game changer on deck.

While the analyst's advice is not surprising considering the numbers, the numbers aren't surprising when you consider the lineups on offer in Mitsubishi and Suzuki showrooms. Sure, Mitsubishi has the Lancer EVO and Suzuki's SX4 is not a bad little car, but the rest struggle to even compete and are backed by little-to-no creative marketing.

What we may be seeing are this market's two smallest Japanese import brands going into hibernation until the U.S. economy recovers. Other markets around the world are still profitable for each and Suzuki still makes some of the best motorcycles on earth (an association still far underutilized by its autos division). The question remains: Will either brand have anything worth buying when Americans open up their wallets again? Hat tip to Wave54!

  • 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse
  • 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder
  • 2009 Mitsubishi Galant
  • 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer
  • 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X
  • 2009 Mitsubishi Endeavor
  • 2009 Mitsubishi Outlander
  • 2009 Mitsubishi Raider

  • 2009 Suzuki SX4 Sport
  • 2009 Suzuki SX4 Crossover
  • 2009 Suzuki Grand Vitara
  • 2009 Suzuki XL7
  • 2009 Suzuki Equator

[Source: Bloomberg]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      For whatever reason the US car buyer associates Suzuki cars with garbage and that is not entirely fair. Yes the Daewoo rebadges were an awful mistake. I see a forenza or reno owner and always ask myself what were they thinking. The SX4 is a nice car and I always liked the Aerios, but the current marketing campaign as the poor mans Mini Cooper is dreadful. Suzuki needs to taut its "Japaneseness", if thats a word, and associate themselves with high tech. Commercials along the lines of Scion, thumping techno music, computers and and a laser light show. :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      I own a SX4 Sport Sedan Touring 2. Great handling car, and if I kept my foot out of it, I'd be getting 33 mpg, not the 29 I average now driving 2 hours each day for work. Complaints? The seats are a little uncomfortable, but that's probably because of my big ass, and the steering wheel does not telescope, which it desperately needs. The worst part is that the Suzuki dealerships are filled with horrible salespeople and repairmen that do not have a clue about the product. I had to buy from 2 states over because the assbag dealer here wanted to charge almost a grand to get it for me (instead, I flew there for $68 and drove it back for about $30 in gas). Then getting services has been a nightmare, had to take it back twice just to get a simple trim piece on the dash fixed! That they broke!

      Great car, horrible dealer network.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good and don't let the door hit you in the trunk when you leave. And you are more than welcome to take as many illegals with you as you have room for.
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      who cares? there would be 2 less Crapanese brand wrecks on the market

      • 5 Years Ago
      When I hear the name Mitsubishi, I think of the aircraft that attacked
      Pearl Harbor, the Jap Zero!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Global economy? Who sold us this load of crap? Who talked us into walking off of this cliff? Global healthcare? Am I the only one who sees the impossibilities of this ever happening? It sounded greedy then and disguised as charity, and It feels worst now that we've seen what it's done to us. We are toast, there is no return or way out from this black hole. Granted, to some it seemed at one time like the perfect Utopian dream for the rest of the world, where every nation would have the chance to compete and reap the benefits of economic prosperity, stamping out hunger while industrializing every poor nation and catapulting its people out of poverty, stamping out hunger and disease, when in reality, it was nothing but an unrealistic greedy dream that made a few very rich and the rest of us suffer, beautiful in theory but catastrophic in practice and we fell for it. This has ruined us, it has bankrupt us all, and we need to go back to the way we were, if it isnt already too late. American made, should be made in America and exported to those who can afford to buy it or trade it for something we need, and trade should go back to being what it use to be, bartering for money or for goods so we can prosper through hard work and help out those less fortunate and in need. Global economy my foot, whoever came up with this load of crap should be given a few Electro shock treatments to bring them down a notch or two.
      • 5 Years Ago

      Personally... I am tired of the rice burners that have been invading this country for the last 40 plus years. Even when they are under the guise of being umbrella'd by an 'American' Car Company.

      If a car is not designed, engineered, and manufactured on American Soil.. it should not be allowed.

      I don't give a hoot whether Japanese or Chinese companies survive at all...

      Biased...? Damn Straight... !

      • 5 Years Ago
      The fools that have bought this Jap junk should also leave with their car
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah, go, go ,go, sell you Jap junk elsewhere!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe Penske should form some alliance with Suzuki and Mitsubishi to sell their cars. Other fledgling brands like Mahindra and Isuzu could also join the alliance. This way once the contract with GM to supply cars runs out, Roger would have a nice lineup of vehicles to sell. Plus the widespread dealer network would help Suzuki and Mitsubishi sell more cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Suzuki Motors USA, at least, should fair well due to it's ever popular motorcycles. Their cruisers are not the most popular, but their sport bikes and standards continue to do well; and should help see them through things.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It is well known in the bike business that teaming up with a car dealership quickly leads to the death of the bike side of things. The margin in motorcycles is small to begin with and the retail prices are relatively low compared to cars, both result in commissions that car salesmen would scoff at and having a bike only salesmen on staff is akin to having a salesmen who can only sit at the kiddy table. BMW tried it and they ended up with dealerships stocking one or two bikes and no one in the building that knew anything about them. Honda for some reason recently thought they could make it work and is currently trying to get their car dealers to sell their full line of products, which of course none of them want to do.
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