Published On: Wed, Nov 7th, 2012

Suzuki enters bankruptcy, pulls out of US market

Suzuki will stop selling cars in the US as the automaker is entering into bankruptcy protection.

The Japanese car maker has never truly rebounded from the recession and says now the currency exchange rate between the dollar and the yen is deepening the problem.

photo Tennen-Gas

“The United States was ultimately a tough market to crack,” said Kentaro Arita, auto analyst and industry research division manager at Mizuho Corporate Bank. “Its exit was a matter of time.”

“Suzuki has been on a downward slope for the last several years,” said Aaron Bragman, automotive analyst for IHS Automotive. “They were hitting about 100,000 units annually in 2006 and 2007 but the products they have introduced lately really didn’t resonate with anybody.”

The company has 225 US dealers, but only sold 21,888 vehicles in 2012 to date. Toyota reports that they sell more Corollas monthly.

After watching car sales slowly evaporate at his Suzuki Motor Corp. dealership, K.C. Heidler decided about five years ago to start offering Kia vehicles on his Santa Ana lot.

“There was a weakening of Suzuki product and a lack of product,” Heidler said, noting that he plans to take down the bright red “S” from the front of his Suzuki Depot dealership. “We had to change the business model to maintain our customers.”

Suzuki will continue to honor warranties and provide parts and service through its network of 220 dealers nationwide. It will continue to sell cars in foreign markets, including Canada.

Its restructuring plan highlights a return to its roots by focusing on its motorcycle business, as well as all-terrain vehicles and marine outboard engines.

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- Stephen is a contributor and writer on The Dispatch. Stephen is the founder and editor for the Steven Spielberg Fan Club website and contributes to pop culture stories on The Dispatch, especially upcoming movie news. Beginning in 2016, Stephen took the role of Managing Editor for the Tampa Dispatch.

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