I am a happy owner of a 2011 Suzuki SX4. I just got a letter from the dealer telling me it will no longer be selling Suzuki; they also sell VW and Audi. They offered to buy my car at $2,000 above retail and offered to take $1,000 off retail toward a new or used Audi or VW. Should I be concerned that Suzuki is nearing its end?
No, but it clearly is on shaky ground in the U.S. As you have experienced, Suzuki is losing dealers in the U.S., and it has a limited, aging product line and a small advertising budget to compete with industry giants such as GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda and Hyundai.
Suzuki has a much larger presence in India, China and Asia, where its small cars are more popular, but in the U.S. it has always been a small player and is getting smaller. Suzuki sold more than 100,000 vehicles in the U.S. in 2007, but sales were only 26,618 last year and are down 4 percent through May 2012 to 10,696. Industry sales are up 13 percent this year.
The company has given no indication it intends to close shop in the U.S., but if the sales slide continues, there could come a point when it is no longer viable to stay here.
GM formerly owned a stake in Suzuki, which supplied small cars and SUVs to GM such as the Geo Metro and Tracker, but that deal ended in 2008. Recently, Suzuki broke off a relationship with Volkswagen, so it is trying to manage on its own. In the long term, Suzuki will need a partner with whom it can share vehicles to broaden and freshen its product offerings if it intends to remain in the U.S.
In the short term, you need to find a nearby Suzuki dealer in case you need warranty work.
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