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No Longer in the U.S. Market, Suzuki Still Facing Recall

Potential fire risk in vehicles produced for Japanese maker by GM.

by on May.23, 2014

The 2008 Suzuki Reno is one of two of the maker's models covered by the new recall.

It’s been gone from the U.S. market for two years but Suzuki is still facing the safety-related callback of 184,000 vehicles, the latest maker tagged by what has been dubbed the automotive recall crisis.

The Japanese maker’s Forenza and Reno models could experience fires as a result of problems with defective lighting modules. The problem is actually linked to a recall announced this week by General Motors which built the Forenza and Reno models for Suzuki.

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The problem is the result of excess heat generated by the two vehicles’ headlamp and daytime running light modules. That could melt some of the lighting components and lead to a possible fire. The recall covers Suzuki Forenza models produced between 2004 and 2008, and 2005 to 2008 Reno models.


Suzuki Sales Surge as Maker Prepares to Leave US

But no reprieve planned.

by on Dec.24, 2012

Suddenly, buyers galore for the Suzuki Kizashi.

As folk singer Joni Mitchell might have put it: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?”

With American Suzuki Motor Corp. preparing to close its automotive operations in the coming year sales have suddenly surged in ways that the Japanese company could have only dreamed of in recent years.  In fact, the maker has had to increase imports from Japan to meet surging demand – a move that required approval from a U.S. bankruptcy judge.

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Sales in November surged 22%, to 2,224 vehicles and, according to the maker, demand is strong this month, as well.  Of course, an expanded, 7-year warranty and a big increase in incentives meant to clear out dealer lots has certainly helped.


Honda Accord, Suzuki Kizashi Top Midsize Sedans in New Crash Test

Toyota Camry, Prius models flunk.

by on Dec.20, 2012

The 2013 Honda Accord after undergoing the Small Offset Crash Test.

Only two of 18 midsize family cars earned “good” ratings in the new frontal crash test by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, and one of those will soon be leaving the market.

The 2013 Honda Accord and Suzuki Kizashi were the only mainstream midsize sedans to earn good ratings, with the IIHS rating another 11 models  as “acceptable.” Two cars from Toyota landed in the “poor” category, the insurance industry-funded organization reported, the recently redesigned Camry and the new Prius V. In fact, the hybrid model “sustained major structural damage in the test,” the IIHS revealed in a new release.

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The overall results might not seem impressive yet the family sedans actually outperformed the midsize luxury and near-luxury models previously tested by the Institute, noted IIHS President Adrian Lund.

“It’s remarkable, Lund said, adding that, “The difference is stunning. Thirteen of these midsize cars offer better crash protection than all but three of their luxury counterparts, and at a price that’s easier on the wallet.”


So Long, Suzuki

Japanese maker abandoning US market.

by on Nov.06, 2012

The failure of the Kizashi sedan seemed to seal American Suzuki's fate.

In the face of steadily falling sales, American Suzuki Motor Corporation of Brea, Calif. is going to stop selling cars in the United States.

The American subsidiary of Japan’s Suzuki Motor Co. has filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California as a prelude to withdrawing from the U.S. automobile market. Suzuki’s withdrawal continues the reduction in the number of brands sold in the U.S. that began in 2009 when Isuzu left. Saab collapsed last year and now Suzuki joins the list.

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By winding down its U.S. automobile marketing business, Suzuki plans to concentrate on its motorcycle, ATV and marine products businesses. As a result, SMC’s distribution of its automobiles in the continental United States will be discontinued. The company sold only 2,000 passenger cars to American consumers in October and said it had lost more than $95 million during the past two fiscal years, according to the bankruptcy filing.


Suzuki Keeps Tradition Alive with the Wacky Q-Concept and Retro-Futuristic Regina.

Small cars for a big future?

by on Nov.30, 2011

The Suzuki Q-Concept.

The 2011 downsized Tokyo Motor Show may not have the grandeur of years past but thanks to Suzuki tradition remains alive.

The biennial event has long been known for bringing us some of the wildest-weirdest and wackiest concept vehicles – and that’s about the best way you can describe the three concepts brought to the show by Suzuki as part of its corporate theme, “Small cars for a big future.”

That notably includes the Q-Concept, which company officials described as “ideal for everyday journeys within a radius of about six miles,” during the makers Tokyo Motor Show news conference.

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Its bright orange body would likely look more appropriate in a Japanese manga comic strip than on the streets of modern-day Tokyo, the split two-piece doors opening up like a children’s toy to give it a distinctive, Q-like shape.  The interior, meanwhile, can be outfitted with a single, rotating front seat and used for, say, pizza – or sushi? – deliveries, or two child-sized seats can be added in the rear.


Suzuki Opts for Wild and Wacky at Tokyo Show

Maker gets retro-futuristic with compact Regina show car.

by on Nov.11, 2011

Suzuki's Regina concept upholds a tradition of unveiling some truly wacky show cars during the biennial Tokyo Motor Show.

For a brief moment, following Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami, there were fears this year’s Tokyo Motor Show might not happen.  It didn’t help that even before the disaster most foreign manufacturers said they’d pull out of the event citing routinely weak import car sales.

The biennial even is back on the calendar, it turns out, and when it opens its doors, early next month, the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show will do what it is often best known for: showcase some of the wildest and wacky concept vehicles ever put on wheels – such as the new Suzuki Regina concept.

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Though it clearly adopts some modern aerodynamic detailing, the compact Suzuki show car strikes the sort of retro-futuristic theme that has often fascinated designers preparing for the Tokyo Motor Show – and led to such distinctive designs as the old Nissan Figaro and snail-like S-Cargo.


Suzuki Makes Splash with Marine Concept

Grand Vitara show car can handle land and sea.

by on Nov.04, 2011

The Marine Concept brings together Suzuki's auto and boat operations.

Suzuki likes to claim there aren’t many obstacles that its Grand Vitara can’t overcome.  Not on land, anyway.  But its Marine Concept adds a new dimension to what the SUV can tackle.

The concept car, er amphibious vehicle, made its debut at the annual SEMA Show, in Las Vegas, this week, the project developed by students at Ohio Technical College.

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They started out with a conventional Suzuki Grand Vitara, opened up the roof, then added a Suzuki outboard motor and a nautical radar arch – as well as a “surfboard review mirror” and an ocean liner fog horn.  A nautical-themed paint job rounds out the package.

The goal was to combine Suzuki’s automotive and marine operations – though it is questionable whether the Marine Concept actually can float, never mind navigate open water.


VW Holds Suzuki Stake Though Legal Battle Looms

Japanese maker accuses erstwhile German partner of breaching their agreement.

by on Oct.17, 2011

Suzuki was hoping to pick up some of VW's technical know-how for vehicles like its Kizashi.

Despite an increasingly tense war of words that could land the erstwhile partners in court, Volkswagen says it has no intention of selling off its stake in Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp.

The two makers have been engaged in an increasingly noisy public spot, in recent weeks, Suzuki officially serving Volkswagen AG with a “notice of breach “in relation to the companies’ Framework Agreement, which was signed in 2009.

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Complicating the situation, VW now accuses Suzuki of breaching the agreement itself by agreeing to purchase diesel engines from Volkswagen’s Italian rival, SpA.

“The discussion between both parties will be exclusively conducted internally,” said a statement from Volkswagen, Europe’s largest maker and currently the second-largest worldwide behind General Motors.


Quake, Tsunami Deal Blow to Japanese Automakers

Deaths, injuries, damaged plants; makers curb production.

by on Mar.11, 2011

A fireball erupts from an industrial area after the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.

The massive earthquake that rocked northern Japan has dealt a hammer blow to the Japanese auto industry, which is still piecing together the impact of what is now believed to have been the worst temblor in recorded Japanese history – and the tsunami it spawned — on the country’s industrial base.

With numerous injuries and at least one death, as well as substantial physical damage, automakers large and small say they will be forced to curb production at more than a dozen plants.

“Today’s earthquake halted production at Japanese automakers in their home markets,” noted a report from Standard & Poors.

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Honda reported at least one death at its technical center north of Tokyo.  Company officials have confirmed one Honda associate died at the company’s Tochigi research and development center when a wall collapsed in a cafeteria.

More than 30 other Honda associates were injured in the Tochigi area from collapsing ceilings and other damage, according to the company, which did not provide any information about damage to the sensitive installation itself.  But Honda has halted production in at least two plants.


Suzuki Determined to Remain in U.S. Market

Reports of imminent departure greatly exaggerated.

by on Feb.10, 2011

Sales may be slow, but those who have bought the Suzuki Kizashi rate it highly.

Suzuki has no intention of withdrawing from the U.S. automotive market.

“That’s a very bad rumor,” Kinji “Kevin” Saito, the president of American Suzuki Motor Corp., told during an exclusive interview at the Chicago Auto Show.

Suzuki suffered badly during  the recession as its sales total plunged sharply for two consecutive year – despite the launch of significant new product, such as the midsize Kizashi sedan.  But the start of the new model-year in October brought a revival of its fortunes.

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Suzuki has every intention of remaining in the American market, Saito said, over dinner, and believes there are plenty of drivers in the midsize segment who appreciate the firm handling, sporty feel and power of the Kizashi sedan.

The Kizashi, which Suzuki brought to market in 2009, can still outperform either the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, which have traditionally dominated in the mid-sized segment, the small Japanese maker believes. Suzuki’s goal is to find buyers who want a more sporty feel in their vehicle than with those mainstream models, Saito said.