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Aaron Gold

Sayonara, Suzuki

By November 7, 2012

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Suzuki logo

This comes as no big surprise, but it's official: Suzuki is pulling out of the US car market, citing low sales and profits. American Suzuki, the official US distributor, is filing for bankruptcy, though Suzuki will continue warranty and parts support for the cars, and will continue to sell motorcycles, ATVs and outboard motors in the States.

My take: This is really a shame. I thought theSX4 was a great (and largely underrated) car, marred mostly by its too-big engine and too-low fuel economy. And the compact/mid-size Kizashi was an excellent effort, with its upscale interior and good driving dynamics. I always thought it was the perfect replacement for the old Volkswagen Jetta. I even liked the Aerio -- it had wierd styling and a name that bore an unfortunate resemblance to a slightly naughty bit of female anatomy, but it was a good little car.

Of course, Suzuki also had some really lousy products -- the Reno was a real sleeper (not in a good way) and the Verona was one of the worst cars we've ever tested at About.com.

Sadly, with dealerships closing left and right, not many people got a chance to experience what Suzuki was doing right. Suzuki actually grew rather strongly after the turn of the millennium, but they never recovered after the market crashed in 2008. Suzuki's last year of sales totalled just 26,266 cars, and that's not enough to stay afloat. That's too bad -- I was really looking forward to them finally bringing the Swift to the US. (Maybe I can bring one down from Canada -- Suzuki cars will still be available in the Great White North.) So long, Suzuki, and thanks for some fantastic vehicles. -- Aaron Gold

A look back at Suzuki:

UPDATE: Spelling error in the headline fixed. How embarrassing!!

Photo Suzuki

November 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm
(1) George in Ohio says:

My oldest son test drove a Kizashi when he ultimately bought his VW GTI. He absolutely loved the Kizashi for the first 5 miles or so, said it was very comfortable and quite enjoyable to drive. Then it suddenly lost all power and died on the Columbus expressway, stranding him, his wife and his two daughters. The Suzuki salesperson had to make a very embarrassing emergency run to pick them up. I realize this could happen to any car, but my son was understandably less than impressed overall. But he loved the car for 5 minutes.

November 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm
(2) Eric says:

It’s too bad in some ways, but not surprising in the least. Although a few of their cars were OK, or decent enough, OK and decent enough just doesn’t cut it in the car industry today with all of the really nice and even superb offerings there are out there. Suzuki’s USA’s other main problem is that they never offered a bloated, gas guzzling SUV or truck or CUV, which is what Americans still seem to prefer to drive.

November 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm
(3) Hawaiian Don says:

Let’s say goodbye to the company that brought us the ugliest car since the Edsel and Pacer…the X90.

November 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm
(4) Daniel Cote says:

Sayonara … there, I fixed it for you.

We’ve enjoyed our previous Suzuki Sidekick and our current Grand Vitara. There are few automatic transmission cars that can be towed 4-wheels down behind a motorhome like these can.

November 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm
(5) Tom says:

I was deeply sadden, but not the least surprised.

Based partly on your review, and an equally good review in Car & Driver, I bought a 2005 “Fusion Red” S wagon (the color in the picture).

I still have it, and it has over 182,000 miles on it (mostly highway), has never once broken down (failed to start two times, both dead battery), and has been realitively cheap to maintain (I say relatively as the parts are expensive, but rarely needed). This is the most dependable car I have ever owned!

November 9, 2012 at 9:26 am
(6) Brian says:

They are still holding out in Canada, but who knows for how long? A few months ago our local dealer had 2 new 2011 Kizashis (Kizashae?) for sale.

My hope is now that they don’t have to ask the question “will it sell in the US market?” maybe they can bring over a few different models that would sell in Canada, but not the US.

November 11, 2012 at 5:05 am
(7) Peter Dejong says:

Our firm used to have two Grand Vitara’s if our engineers had to go to construction sites. Great off road capabilities much better then most of its peers. On road they were so so not comparable to Toyota or Subara. Pity they will leave. They made some interesting cars. Luckily we still have the great outboard engines

February 6, 2013 at 3:55 am
(8) relationship mentor says:

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September 21, 2013 at 2:05 pm
(9) Eric Scism says:

Not really much of a surprise here. Suzuki has been trailing in quality for years, we’ve been saying this for awhile. I personally Toyota is leading the way in terms of quality craftsmanship.

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