• Aug 16th 2010 at 11:32AM
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Any hopes that Suzuki might have had a year ago that the Kizashi would revive its U.S. sales prospects were quickly dashed once the car went on sale in late 2009. The attractively style Kizashi has not made any noticeable dent in the hyper-competitive mid-size segment, however, and Suzuki's sales through July are down by 48 percent compared to its already terrible first half of 2009. After peaking at 101,884 units in 2007, Suzuki has only moved 13,501 vehicles through July of this year.

As a result, Suzuki reportedly sent out buyout offers to 150 of the 354 U.S. dealers it had earlier this year and about 50 of them accepted. One of the closing dealers is Gene Butman Suzuki of Ypsilanti, MI (pictured above) which in recent months only had a handful of new Suzuki models in stock. The former Suzuki store is now peddling used cars for the adjacent Ford outlet, although the signs are still in place as of today. Suzuki agreed to cash payments for franchises as well as buying back tools, inventory and signs. By eliminated dealers, Suzuki hopes to raise per-store sales for its remaining outlets, and according to Automotive News, no further network reductions are planned.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd | Image: Sam Abuelsamid / AOL]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      When a Ford dealer from central Houston moved there business down to my suburb south of Houston, I was excited. When they built a Suzuki dealership next to it, I thought, huh? The Suzuki dealer maybe lasted 1-2 years. My thought was, why did they not pair it with Mazda or Lincoln or something? I am not a Suzuki fan but it is sad to see people fail. I imagine Mitsubishi is next. The two should conserve their money and just close out in America period.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well said Decapitor, Closing dealers makes no sense to me, more dealer visability equals more chance of a sale, They should have given us the Swift Sport and things may be a little different, Ive worked on many Suzukis and think they are a great little cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So they're closing 1/3rd of their dealer body? They're dropping to 100 dealers in the entire country?

      This HAS to be a precursor to their pulling out of the American market entirely.

      Suzuki hasn't marketed the Kizashi, Grand Vitara, and Equator AT ALL. And I haven't seen an SX4 ad that wasn't print in a year now. I wonder if they haven't lost interest.

      The fact that they have a compact hatch, sedan, midsize sedan, compact SUV, and midsize pickup and they've moved less than 14k examples in 7 months is nothing short of pathetic.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah...I re-read the article.

        Thing is, if they dump the 150 dealers they're hoping to, they'll only have, what 204 left?

        This "per-store sales" thing is spin, I think. I'd imagine that Suzuki is planning to pull out of the market.

        Even if, after this dealership cull, their sales hold steady, they'll still only be doing ~110 new cars per year at each of the 204 remaining dealerships. Or, less than 10/month.

        And that's a big "if", since what was already an invisible dealer network will only grow smaller and more sparse.

        While I'd love to see the '12 Swift in this country, I don't see how Sukuki is going to be able to hold on in the US until then...nor do I see how they'd support the Swift when it does arrive. Not if they've failed as badly as they have so far with the Kizashi's launch.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Motorcycle side isn't doing any better.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If Suzuki would just bring the Jimny/Samurai and/or the X-Head Concept to its U.S. dealers, they'd be as successful as they were during the 80's and 90's. Buyers are CRAVING a small pickup and a fun little 4x4 runabout that's smaller, less expensive, more fuel efficient, and better-built than the Jeep Wrangler. The Kizashi is nice, but the world doesn't need yet another Camry/Accord competitor. Suzuki needs to build themselves back up by selling unique vehicles that people want and need, rather than just "me too" vehicles.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Good points.

        Concentrating on getting new product to the USA like an updated Samauri, the X-Head pickup,the Swift, etc. would have done a lot more for them than the Kisahsi.

        And with Hyundai/KIA getting so much good product to the market now, it's hard to see how Suzuki (or Mistubishi) is ever going to make it.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, they really need to bring back the Samurai.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Our Suzuki Grand Vitara has been one of the best cars we have ever owned. It never had a warranty claim. Thank God because the dealers suck!
      • 5 Years Ago
      As the owner of a brand-new 2010 Suzuki SX4 AWD, I would notice. :-)

      I think the SX4 and Kizashi are both really good cars. It's a brand that has suffered from lack of advertising. Hopefully, Suzuki will be able to make it through this big slump, start buying some ad space, and start selling some vehicles. They've got decent cars now, just just a matter of letting people know.

      Of course, bringing the Swift would help, too, but that doesn't look like it will happen for 2011.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Suzuki is like Mitsubishi. If they left the market today, no one would notice.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Mitsubishi sales actually rose in double digit percentages last month, so it looks like they have at least stopped swirling the drain for now. Plus they got good product in the pipeline, particularly the Outlander Sport which was well received overseas.

        As far as brand awareness goes amongst the general public goes, they are pretty low - but there is at is plenty of equity in the Evo, Eclipse, and Montero most everybody has at least heard of. I can not say the same for any Suzuki.

        I understand the fact that pithy bloggers will insist the exact opposite to make a point though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Suzuki is partnered with VW, what if they used the VW dealer network to sell their cars? Sort of like the plan with Chrysler and Fiat ? The Kizashi is a solid sedan and the SX4 and Grand Vitara offer good value for money.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Dead and pointless brand in the US. Nothing they have is compelling enough to win sales away from the other Japanese brands or the Korean brands. Kizashi is nice, but really, you still have to buy it from a dwindling and marginal dealer network plus assume plummeting resale value and only adequate reliability. Suzuki blew it by failing to make their product line unique and compelling (Swift woulda been brilliant to have here in 2008, and SX4 had potential they never carried through on...it was the lowest-priced AWD car in the US and a decent mini-XUV for a bargain price), instead focusing on a mainstream model when they're not a brand that appeals to mainstream buyers.

      Marketing the cars as if any potential Suzuki buyer gives a rat's tail about their motorcycles was another mistake that's seen them go from a sales peak in 2007 to nearly dead. And even if the cycles mattered to buyers, does a rebadged Daewoo have any Suzuki bike DNA to make it legit?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd shut that one down too. I don't see a single Suzuki there.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Read the article:

        "One of the closing dealers is Gene Butman Suzuki of Ypsilanti, MI (pictured above) which in recent months only had a handful of new Suzuki models in stock. "
        • 5 Years Ago
        It was a joke.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Believe it or not, I was planning to test drive the Kizashi today, there is a dealer 2 miles from my house, but, if that one get cut, the other one is about 25 miles away... Great..

      I am really interested in the Kizashi, done my research, and now am ready to buy errr lease... but hey it's something, not surprising that not many leasing companies I have called did not want to lease a Suzuki. I don't believe it.

      Really was looking forward to probably having a White Pearl Kizashi in my garage.

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