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Suzuki CEO Latest Victim of Fuel Economy Cheating Scandal

Board members take deep pay cuts.

by on Jun.09, 2016

Suzuki's CEO and senior executives are resigning the wake of revelations about the company's reporting of fuel economy ratings for cars.

The 86-year-old CEO and other senior executives at Japanese automaker Suzuki are stepping down or taking large pay cuts as a result of the maker’s admission it falsified fuel economy data to boost sales.

Suzuki last month acknowledged using test procedures that boosted its reported mileage. That announcement came weeks after rival Mitsubishi Motors admitted it had been rigging its own numbers for as much as a quarter century.

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Longtime CEO Osamu Suzuki, who also serves as chief of Suzuki Motor Corp., will step down, as will executive vice president Osamu Honda – who has no relationship with the Honda Motor Co. Suzuki corporate directors also will take deep pay cuts. (more…)

Mitsubishi President Resigns in Wake of Fuel Economy Scandal

Nissan expected to play central role in reshaping senior leadership.

by on May.18, 2016

Mitsubishi President Tetsuo Aikawa tendered his resignation effective June 24, as the automaker struggles in the wake of its fuel economy reporting.

The fallout from the Mitsubishi fuel economy scandal spread to the Japanese automaker’s president, Tetsuo Aikawa, who is resigning from his job effective June 24. Executive Vice President Ryugo Nakao also resigned.

No successors have been named. Chairman Osamu Masuko survives, but is surrendering any compensation he earns until the company forms a new management team.

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Aikawa offered up his job at a press conference today, but did not admit to any wrongdoing related to the issue. Earlier this month, officials confirmed that the fuel economy data for its vehicles in Japan were falsified. (more…)

GM Slapped with Class Action Suit Over Misstated Mileage

Consumer Reports suggests company’s been overstating for years.

by on May.18, 2016

GM's put a stop-sale order on its 2016 large crossovers due to incorrect mileage figures on the window sticker.

General Motors has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit over changes to its fuel economy calculations for three different vehicles as questions about its mileage claims continue to grow to nearly 2 million vehicles.

The expansion comes, in part, as Consumer Reports magazine suggests that the automaker has been incorrectly stating the mileage in these vehicles for several years. GM’s problems come on the heels of recent admissions by Suzuki, a former manufacturing partner of GM, and Mitsubishi that they had been skirting the system as well.

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The plaintiffs in the suit against GM, which was filed in Southern California, claim the apparently “fudged” numbers ding their wallets not only at the gas pump, but also in the value the vehicles. (more…)

VW and Suzuki End Angry Feud

Arbitration ends failed green car alliance.

by on Aug.31, 2015

Suzuki pulled out of the US with the failure of its midsize model, the Kizashi.

An arbitration tribunal has pulled the plug on a once-promising green car alliance between Volkswagen AG and Suzuki Motor Corp. The German maker has now been ordered to sell back the 19.9% stake it had purchased in the Japanese car company.

But VW says that may yet sue Suzuki for damages as a result of the break-up of the alliance which was formed in 2009 but never got off the ground, instead developing into a bitter public dispute between the two companies.

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“It used to feel as if a small bone were stuck in my throat,” Suzuki Chairman and Chief Executive Osamu Suzuki told a news conference after learning of the decision. “I feel so refreshed now.”


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.