Selected Suzuki advertising
Suzuki is one of the world's leading manufacturers of cars, motorbikes 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 sales in Japan. Total volumes were 3.3m cars in the year to March 2019, 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. 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 in 2019, more than all of the next ten manufacturers combined. India alone accounts for more than half of Suzuki's total annual volumes. The group has virtually no presence in the American car market, having effectively withdrawn from that region in 2013 following the collapse of its local distributor.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. 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. Since the 1970s, it has been 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 remains chairman, but will finally retire in June 2021. Revenues for the year to 2019 were approx $35bn, with net income of $1.6bn. Japan and India each account for around a third of total sales by value.
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Who are the competitors of Suzuki? See Automobile Sector for other companies.
Capsule checked 9th March 2020
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