Suzuki Motor Corporation: Information from

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Suzuki Colleda CO

Suzuki Motor Corporation

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Employees .

Employee growth . 2.7%

Motor Corporation is a leading carmaker and a global motorcycle competing head-to-head with Honda and Yamaha. Suzuki’s car models include the Alto, Vitara, Swift, Splash, and Its motorcycle products include motocross, offroad, scooter, and touring models, as well as Suzuki Motor’s non-vehicle include outboard motors for and motorized wheelchairs.

It builds its on its own and through numerous subsidiaries and ventures overseas. Japan for nearly 45% of sales. Suzuki the US car market in 1985 with the the country’ first compact

Suzuki Motor Corporation


Creativity—a human to develop products that better living conditions and people’s needs. Since the of Suzuki Motor Corporation, we always pursued providing products as one of our manufacturing philosophies. that the value differs to the times, country and lifestyle, we are determined to challenge for the creativity to such products for customers the world with our advanced and enthusiasm.

Key Dates:

1909: Suzuki founds Suzuki Works, a manufacturer of weaving

1920: The company is taken as Suzuki Loom Manufacturing

1952: Shift to motorized begins with the introduction of the Free moped.

1954: The name is changed to Suzuki Co. Ltd.

1955: The first the Colleda, debuts; Suzuki the Suzulight, a lightweight passenger

1961: The company makes its light truck, the Suzulight FB.

1967: The first overseas plant is established in Thailand.

Suzuki enters into a and production alliance with Motors (GM), which a 3 percent stake in Suzuki.

Suzuki introduces the Samurai, the compact sport-utility vehicle, to the market.

1986: American Motor Corp. is established as a holding company subsidiary.

Consumer Reports declares the unsafe because of an alleged to roll over; sales of the plunge.

1990: The company its name to Suzuki Motor

1993: The Wagon R miniwagon is into the Japanese market.

The Wagon R becomes the top-selling in Japan, posting sales of 250,000 units.

1998: GM and agree to jointly develop cars in Europe, and GM increases its in Suzuki to 10 percent.

2001: between GM Suzuki deepen: GM its stake in Suzuki to 20 percent, and the two begin marketing the codeveloped Cruze, which is manufactured by in Japan; Suzuki enters an agreement with Kawasaki Industries to begin joint of motorcycles.

2002: Suzuki over majority control of two overseas joint ventures: Udyog in India and P.T. Suzuki International in Indonesia; the takes a 15 percent stake in GM Auto Technology, the GM-formed company to bankrupt South automaker Daewoo Motor.

1920 as Suzuki Loom Company

NAIC: 336111 Manufacturing; 336211 Motor Body Manufacturing; 336300 Vehicle Parts Manufacturing; Motorcycle, Bicycle, and Parts 333618 Other Engine Manufacturing

Suzuki Motor is Japan’s fourth largest (trailing Toyota Motor Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Motor Co. Ltd.), marketing its in more than 190 countries the world.

During fiscal the company sold about 1.8 automobiles, with slightly than half of the sales outside of Japan. Suzuki is known in the United States and as a manufacturer of small, fuel-efficient and sport-utility vehicles, as well as motorcycles, although it moved the midsize car sector during the model year with the of the Verona.

In its home market of however, the company is the leading of minicars—a classification almost outside Japan. These automobiles—smaller than American models—are popular because of the overcrowding in Japanese cities, since the early 1990s a car cannot be purchased legally the owner can show proof he or she has a parking spot.

In the market for two-wheeled vehicles, 80 percent of Suzuki’s domestic is mopeds, or motor-driven bicycles; Suzuki holds the number position in the Japanese motorcycle behind Honda and Yamaha Co. Ltd. The company also marine outboard motors, and water pumps.

In addition, its network of foreign assembly Suzuki is adept at turning out of car parts.

Suzuki’s growth has predicated on its distinctive domestic and strategies. Domestically, the company its success to its high-quality engines, which it designs a wide of vehicles for special or emerging markets. Internationally, Suzuki has targeted developing countries growing populations, including India, China, Hungary, and Pakistan.

Suzuki’s policy in markets is to find a local to sell simple, more vehicles, taking advantage of the margins on huge volumes of Suzuki is also involved in a alliance with General Corporation (GM), with acting as a key component in GM’s of alliances with Asian GM holds a 20 percent stake in

As part of this alliance, has taken a 15 percent stake in Korean automaker GM Daewoo Technology, the former Daewoo Company. Suzuki also majority control of automakers Udyog Ltd. of India and Indomobil Suzuki International in

In the U.S. market, Suzuki’s is an extension of its domestic plan. the major automakers battle for in mass markets, Suzuki in the quirky niches between and sport-utility vehicle and between and subcompact.

Suzuki Motor was founded by Michio Suzuki in as a manufacturer of weaving machines. its base in Hamamatsu, the Suzuki Works, as it was then known, weaving equipment to hundreds of fabrics manufacturers in and between Yokohama, and Nagoya. At the time, manufacturing was one of Japan’s biggest It provided a growing and stable for the Suzuki enterprise.

In 1920 Suzuki took his company and named the new firm Suzuki Manufacturing Company.

Suzuki to manufacture weaving machines throughout the 1920s and until the At that time a militarist gained control of the government and a massive mobilization program the quasi-war economy. Companies the country were asked to planning for a conversion to armaments

Suzuki was an especially attractive because it was in the business of equipping factories. In addition, the company was far away from major centers that would primary bombing targets.

By Suzuki had begun production of a of war-related materials, which may included vehicle parts, gun and armor. For its part in Japan’s War II effort, Suzuki, like of other companies, was requisitioned for war and probably had no intention of becoming a of military implements. Nevertheless, the continued to manufacture weaving for the duration of the war.

Fortunately, the factory and the city of Hamamatsu the ravages of U.S. bombing The company was capable of resuming after the war, but the economy and networks were in ruins.

reestablished production of textile equipment soon after War II. Japan, however, was so impoverished there was little demand for new products. As a result, few companies afford to purchase new looms. By the pace of investment continued to be prompting Suzuki to make a change in its business.

That the company moved to a new headquarters and, relying on the manufacturing it had gained during the war, design work on motorized The prospects were favorable; was a nation of nearly 100 million nearly all of whom lacked to basic transportation.

The heart of the new product line was a small engine that could be to motorize bicycles. Production of the called the Power Free, in 1952, prompting Suzuki to weaving equipment entirely. In with the introduction of the new product the company changed its name to Motor Co.

Ltd. in 1954, the same it introduced its first motorcycle, the Later in 1954, Suzuki from two-wheeled vehicles to a passenger sedan called the powered by a 360cc engine. In the Suzuki gained valuable in developing larger internal engines, vehicle frames, systems, and steering mechanisms. In Suzuki developed an improved named the Suzumoped.

The following it began production of a revolutionary van, much smaller conventional delivery trucks in use and more appropriately suited to motorized businesses.

Suzuki on the fact that, as its customers’ grew, so would their Therefore, it would be pointless for the to squander hard-won loyalty by to offer its customers a properly product line. Having an important foothold in various of the Japanese vehicle market, cleverly used these for further expansion.

The popular van of 1959 convinced the company to a light truck, called the Carry FB, in 1961.

The single that gained Suzuki its international recognition, however, the following year, when a motorcycle won the 50cc-class Isle of Man It was the first of many victories for motorcycles, victories that established the previously unknown model as a world leader. By demand for more powerful would prompt Suzuki to its first line of four-… motorcycles.

This preserved position of leadership in the market.

had difficulty expanding into automobile markets that dominated by Toyota, Honda, and As a result, it was unable to develop a sophisticated product line. In its for growth, Suzuki turned to export markets that in the same economic condition had been in 10 or 15 years earlier. The promising market was Thailand, a that historically had close with Japan.

In 1967 established a factory in Thailand to a variety of vehicles whose were made in Japan. By local employment and inviting investment in the venture, Suzuki import restrictions that out other manufacturers. Later, duplicated the export development in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Still to reach sales goals for vehicles, however, Suzuki a diversification campaign. The company’s engines were fitted to generators, yielding an entirely new of portable power sources. In Suzuki expanded into motors for boats.

In addition, the dabbled in housing, an initially but short-lived venture.

The 1973 of Petroleum Exporting Countries oil embargo drastically changed the market. Faced with fuel prices, consumers interest in more efficient But while Suzuki’s little and trucks sipped gasoline, were underpowered when with competing models Japan’s big three.

The company’s auto sales slid during a 1974 recession from the oil crisis. That total sales of minicars—Suzuki’s automobile segment—fell by more 65 percent from 1970.

began a major export soon afterward, commencing motorcycle production in Thailand, and Taiwan. In addition, it sent to the United States for the first The product was a bit unusual in the U.S. where the roads were by enormous, heavy cars.

were introduced in the United in small numbers but were fuel-efficient, capable of using to one-half as much gasoline as American models. Suzuki, entered the U.S. market behind Toyota, Honda, and even Mazda and Subaru. by 1978, fuel prices had and demand for Suzuki’s economy was evaporating.

Oil prices would up again briefly in 1979, the Iranian Revolution, but by then of Suzuki’s most promising had enacted tough laws imports from Japan.

Returning to the development strategy it had in Thailand in 1967, Suzuki a number of foreign investment agreeing to locate production in several countries in return for to their markets. In 1982 the established a Pakistani production called PACO and a similar in India called Maruti Ltd. which was a joint with the Indian government.

also established a partnership in with Land Rover, as Land Rover Santana Two years later Suzuki set up new operations in New Zealand and France.

In the States, Suzuki’s largest outside Japan, the company a series of marketing and production with General Motors and Isuzu Motors. Ltd. in (the latter two companies already affiliated, with GM a 34 percent stake in Isuzu). As of the deal, GM purchased a 3 percent in Suzuki.

The companies planned to production facilities and handle of each other’s products. In Suzuki began production of its subcompact, selling the cars GM as the Chevy Sprint and later as the Geo Another result of Suzuki’s with GM was the creation of a joint in Canada, called CAMI Inc. in 1986.

This went into production in manufacturing Sprints, Metros, and Sidekicks (also marketed as Geo

While Suzuki’s joint with GM was off to a good start, had considerably more trouble of its In 1985 it had begun importing the the first compact sport-utility (SUV ) sold in the United (that term had not yet been however, so the Samurai was called a vehicle). One year later the established American Suzuki Corp. as a U.S. holding subsidiary at Brea. California.

sales of the Samurai surged to by 1987, but one year later Reports declared that the was an unsafe vehicle. Specifically, the noted that the Samurai’s center of gravity could it to flip over while turns even at low speeds. launched its own investigation and took measures, but the damage had already done; sales plunged 31 in 1988, bottoming out at just units by 1990.

Worse for the company’s entire U.S. team resigned—a gesture of that was misinterpreted as an abandonment of the commitment to the product and to the U.S. in general. The Samurai meantime a clean bill of health the National Highway Traffic Administration, which conducted an of the vehicle and found it no more to roll over than light-duty vehicles.

Domestically, developed several new models the 1980s, including the Cultus in 1983 and the four-wheel-drive Escudo in Also in 1988, Suzuki to handle sales of Peugeot in Japan. The following year, the rolled out the Cultus Esteem, shared the same 1600cc as the Escudo.

Also shoring up were motorcycle sales, were recovering by 1990, a decline that had begun in

With the Samurai debacle behind it, Suzuki initiated a campaign to reestablish the vehicle’s U.S. franchise. The high-riding was popular with younger who favored a more rugged buggy that was impervious to obstacles. Above all, it was fun to and distinctive in appearance.

Suzuki continued its push at globalization, a plant in Great Britain in that turned out 15,000 annually. The company established a with the Egyptian company Motors SAE, called Egypt SAE, to build cars and the Super Carry and van line in that country. licensed manufacture of its Swift/Forsa through Colmotores SA in Columbia.

The venture also was expanded to automobile manufacture under a new Pak Suzuki Motor Company, In April 1991 Suzuki a joint venture with C. the start-up Hungarian auto Autokonzern RT, and the International Finance The enterprise, called Magyar Corporation, began production of the Swift in Hungary the following

In addition to putting up $230 in capital for the new company, Suzuki each of its Hungarian workers to for training in its production methods.

in 1990, Suzuki Motor adopted the more international Suzuki Motor Corporation. this time, the company reverses in its largest enterprise, cars with engines 550cc. This was due to two factors: new that extended parking to cars of that class and a recession in Japan.

Suzuki’s were partially offset by an in motorcycle sales, but because from auto manufacturing nearly five times than motorcycle sales, the overall growth rate substantially.

A promising area for was its place under the corporate of General Motors’ international Through teaming agreements, was designated GM’s de facto car division, developing automobiles for the company under the Geo nameplate. in Suzuki’s U.S. business, of the Samurai recovered to 20,000 in but they never again the level achieved in 1987, and the model ceased production in

Suzuki continued to produce the however, and in 1995 the company the mini sport-utility vehicle, the With engines, suspensions, and options similar to the two-door the two-seat X-90 combined capabilities with carlike, features.

Globally, Suzuki to seek out countries with markets and large populations. Its ventures with the governments of Hungary, Egypt, and Columbia had low-risk and cost-effective means of The company stepped up that successful strategy in the early to in India and China.

Suzuki Colleda CO

Having a joint venture with the government-controlled Maruti Udyog in Suzuki increased its equity to 50 percent in 1992 and raised company’s capacity to 200,000 in 1994. By 1998 the Suzuki-Maruti held 80 percent of the Indian market. In China, Suzuki on a licensing agreement with the in 1993 to become the first company to invest in a Chinese manufacturing venture.

In the mid-1990s introduced two successful products to the market: the Wagon R miniwagon, debuted in 1993, and the Alto which was introduced one year with a $5,000 price tag made it the least expensive in the country. Also during time, however, Suzuki’s with the Samurai returned to the company. In 1995 the U.S. awarded $90 million to a woman who was as the result of a Samurai rollover

Suzuki responded by suing the Union, the publisher of Consumer in 1996. The company claimed the Consumers Union had purposely the test in 1988 to ensure the Samurai failed the short-course portion.

As Suzuki approached the century, it remained primarily a manufacturer. The company derived 70 percent of its income from of automobiles, including the Cervo, and Swift car models; the Carry and the sport-utility vehicles Samurai and the which was sold in the United as the Sidekick. In 1998 the company a compact SUV called the Jimny

Hoping to sell 2,000 of the vehicles a month in Japan, planned to begin exporting the in mid-1998.

Moreover, in the late Suzuki remained Japan’s minicar manufacturer, a position it had for almost 25 years. Motorcycles, ranged from 50cc to 1100cc touring bikes, approximately 15 percent of Suzuki’s In addition, outboard motors 3 percent of Suzuki Motor sales.

The company sold two million vehicles in 1997, nearly 250,000 Wagon R which made that the top-selling vehicle in Japan. The R maintained that position 2000. Suzuki had hoped to the number of vehicles sold per to 2.5 million by 2000, but the economic in Asia in 1997 and 1998 these plans.

The economic seriously affected several in which Suzuki had major including Indonesia, Thailand, and the

In the U.S. market in the late both the Sidekick and the X-90 their production runs. The had been more successful the whimsical X-90, which never caught on, but the Vitara in Japan as the Escudo) replaced the as Suzuki’s compact SUV in the United in 1998. At the same time, introduced a beefed-up version of the the Grand Vitara (the Escudo in Japan), which was the small SUV to feature a V-6 engine.

To the new models, Suzuki significantly its network of U.S. dealerships.

in part by the 1998 creation of AG. which shook up the global industry, GM and Suzuki strengthened relationship. In 1998 the companies to jointly develop subcompact for the European market, and GM spent $318 million to increase its in Suzuki to 10 percent.

Early in their jointly developed car, the Suzuki Wagon Agila, began coming off lines in Hungary (through Suzuki) and Poland (through an plant—Adam Opel AG being a GM The partners were also on the South American continent: In 2000 production of the Grand began at General Motors de S.A. The companies also collaborating in Colombia, Ecuador, and

In June 2000 Osamu who had served as president of Suzuki since June 1978, chairman and CEO of the company. The longtime who had married a granddaughter of the company and took his wife’s family had built Suzuki into a powerhouse through his consistent on small cars, cost-containment, and fiscal practices, as well as an approach to expanding into markets.

Taking over as and COO was Masao Toda, who had been a in charge of technology, manufacturing, and Toda remained president April 2003, when he down for health reasons and was by Hiroshi Tsuda, a senior director.

Suzuki and GM strengthened alliance in September 2000, further emphasis on Suzuki’s as GM’s small-car partner. GM injected about $600 into Suzuki in January to increase its stake to 20 percent. As of the deal, GM Chairman John F. Jr. gained a seat on the Suzuki becoming the first outsider to such a position.

Part of the invested into Suzuki toward the start-up of production in of a new jointly developed all-wheel-drive car, the Chevrolet Cruze. sales of the Cruze began in 2001, and then exports of the to Australia began in April where it was sold as the Holden by a GM subsidiary, Holden, Ltd.

On the front, meanwhile, Suzuki and the Big Four Japanese motorcycle (the others being Yamaha, and Kawasaki Heavy Ltd.) had for years faced competition from newly European and U.S. manufacturers as as from Chinese companies pirated copies of their

Responding to such threats, and Kawasaki announced in August that they had entered a cooperation agreement whereby would jointly develop new models and would unify parts procurement and production to cut costs. In an unrelated development, in May 2002 began manufacturing in the United States for the first when a plant in Rome, run by U.S. subsidiary Suzuki of America Corporation began out all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

during 2002 Suzuki two of its key overseas production joint Udyog in India and P.T. Suzuki International in Indonesia—into subsidiaries by acquiring majority of the ventures. Suzuki now held a percent stake in Maruti and 90 percent of Indomobil Suzuki.

In 2003 the Indian government 25 percent of its remaining interest in Udyog to the public through an public offering (IPO).

As of GM’s 2002 takeover of the of the bankrupt Daewoo Motor of South Korea, Suzuki out $89 million for a 15 percent stake in GM Auto Technology, the South company that GM formed as a to Daewoo Motor. The first of this new alliance was the introduction of two new models into the U.S. in the fall of 2003, both of were rebadged Daewoo

The Verona, a five-passenger sedan directly against such as the Toyota Camry and Honda marked Suzuki’s entrée the midsize segment of the car market, the Forenza was marketed as a premium sedan. These vehicles the first of nine new vehicles Suzuki planned to introduce the U.S. market over a period, during which the firm aimed to roughly its U.S. sales from the it sold in 2002 to 200,000 by Meantime, plans were made for Suzuki to begin GM Daewoo models in Japan the Chevrolet brand in either 2003 or early 2004.

At the time that Suzuki was to triple its U.S. sales, its battle against Consumers continued. By 2002 the ruling had awarded $90 million to a woman in a Samurai rollover accident had overturned. Suzuki’s lawsuit Consumers Union was dismissed in but Suzuki won an appeal to a U.S. of Appeals, which in 2002 the case to trial. Consumers then filed an appeal to the

Supreme Court.


Bell Art Co. Ltd.; Enshu Co. Ltd.; Hamamatsu Pipe Co. Snic Co. Ltd.; S. Tech Co. Suzuki Akita Auto Mfg. Co. Ltd.; Suzuki Co. Ltd.; Suzuki Hamamatsu Parts Mfg. Co. Ltd.; Marin Co. Ltd.; Suzuki Center Co. Ltd.; Suzuki Industries Co. Ltd.; Suzuki Auto Parts Mfg. Co. Suzuki Transportation and Packaging Co. Suzuki Works Techno Suzuki Australia Pty.

Suzuki Austria Automobil G.m.b.H.; Cambodia Suzuki Co. Ltd.; Suzuki Canada Suzuki Motor de Colombia Suzuki France S.A.; International Europe GmbH Magyar Suzuki Corporation Maruti Udyog Ltd. 54.2%); P.T. Indomobil International (Indonesia; 90%); Italia S.p.A. (Italy); Suzuki Motor Co. Ltd.; New Zealand Ltd.; Pak Suzuki Co.

Ltd. (Pakistan); Suzuki Pakistan Ltd.; Suzuki Inc.; Suzuki Motor Ltd.; Suzuki Auto S.A. (Spain); Suzuki España, S.A. (Spain); Suzuki Motor Co. Ltd. Thai Suzuki Trading Co. (Thailand); Suzuki GB PLC (U.K.); Suzuki Motor Corporation Suzuki Manufacturing of America (U.S.A.).

Principal Competitors

Motor Corporation; Nissan Co. Ltd.; Honda Motor Co. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation; Motor Corporation; Yamaha Co.

Ltd.; Ford Motor DaimlerChrysler AG; Hyundai Motor

Further Reading

Bedard, The Next Big Thing, Car and Driver, May pp. 52-56.

Cars Are a Sideline for Sport-Utes Carry the Load, News, April 29, 1996, pp.

Eisenstodt, Gale, A Four People Market, Forbes, 27, 1993, pp. 48-49.

Finlay, Suzuki Gets Aggressive, Auto World, May 1998, p.

Friedland, Jonathan, Mini Suzuki Holds Its Own While Carmakers Suffer, Far Eastern Review, April 28, 1994, p. 76.

Karen Lowry, Why the Road Traveled Suits Suzuki, Week, June 15, 1992, p.

Reitman, Valerie, Frugal of Suzuki Drives Markets in Wall Street Journal, 26, 1998.

Treece, James B. GM, Zero in on Developing Markets, News, September 21, 1998, p. 3.

Gregory L. and Norihiko Shirouzu, Street Journal, September 14, p. A3.

John Simley

Suzuki Colleda CO
Suzuki Colleda CO


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