Selected Suzuki advertising
Suzuki is one of the world's leading manufacturers of cars, motorcycles and marine engines, best known in the West for its compact 4x4s and SUVs. In Asia, though, the company is famous for the tiny but supremely fuel-efficient mini-vehicles which account for the bulk of its Japan sales. Total volumes were 2.57m cars in the year to March 2021, making Suzuki one of the world's top ten auto manufacturers. Top-sellers are the Swift small car at around 400k units and the city car Alto (317k). Yet fewer than 15% of its vehicles were sold outside Asia. (Its biggest non-Asian market is Italy). In the 1980s, the group formed a successful regional partnership with GM that lasted for almost 30 years until the US group's bankruptcy restructuring. A new alliance was forged with Volkswagen instead in 2009, but that proved far less fruitful. Suzuki tried to terminate the partnership after just two years, against VW's wishes. A legal row rumbled on for five years before it was finally resolved in 2016. Instead, Suzuki signed a new alliance with domestic rival Toyota. Although it has a presence in Europe, Suzuki's main markets are in Asia, and especially India, its biggest territory by far. Joint venture Suzuki Maruti is that country's leading passenger car manufacturer by a huge margin, with an astonishing 47% market share, more than all of the next ten manufacturers combined. India alone accounts for more than half of Suzuki's total annual volumes, or 1.3m vehicles in ye 2021. The group has virtually no presence in the American car market, having effectively withdrawn from that region in 2013 following the collapse of its local distributor. As a result it now sells only motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles in the US. Global motorcycle sales were 1.5m units in ye 2021, but the vast majority of these too were in Asia. The company has changed quite dramatically since it was formed in 1909 by Michio Suzuki to make industrial weaving looms. It began making motorcycles in the 1950s, and then automobiles. From the 1970s until 2021, it was led by Osamu Suzuki, who married into the founder's family and adopted his name. In 2016, following a scandal in which the company admitted it had used unapproved methods for measuring fuel efficiency of more than 2m of its small cars, the elderly patriarch agreed to step down as CEO in favour of his son Toshihiro Suzuki. He remained chairman until 2021. Net revenues for the year to Mar 2021 were approx $30bn (Y3,179bn), with net income of $1.4bn. Japan and India each account for around a third of total sales by value.
Capsule checked 6th January 2022
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