Like many car companies today, Suzuki came from humble beginnings. Although they are best known for their vehicles and motorcycles, they originated as a loom company. Keep reading to learn more about their compelling history and what they’re up to today.
How the Company Got Started
Michio Suzuki founded Suzuki Loom Works in 1909, which produced some of the world’s best quality looms. They were shipped internationally, giving Suzuki a good name and popular reputation before he ever thought about getting involved with cars. Based out of Hamamatsu, Japan, Suzuki generated income from looms until the early 1950s, when an economic market crash derailed his current plan for the company. He then pivoted to making cars, something he had been working on for the past 15 years. Although he already had several prototype cars, nothing had been mass-produced or put on the market yet.
World War II had a massive impact on the Japanese automotive industry. Needing vehicles that were both practical and affordable, Suzuki swooped in to meet the country’s needs. First developing a motorcycle that featured a two-stroke engine. The first vehicle was called the “Suzulight” and had features that no company had dared put on a vehicle – a four-wheel independent suspension and rack and pinion steering. By the time this model was developed and released to customers, Suzuki was already making around 6,000 of its motorcycle models per month. Officially named the Suzuki Motor Company, the next few years proved to be periods of significant growth for the company.
In 1983, the company partnered with General Motors to create vehicles. During this partnership, they hit a major milestone: producing 10 million vehicles for the Japanese market. As the company continued to expand, they were in new countries and partnered with Volkswagen (2002), Fiat (2004), and Nissan (2007).
The Suzuki logo hasn’t changed much since its development in 1958. Originally, it was solid black featuring the iconic “S” and the name of the company in bold font. In 1990, the logo was redone to present more colorfully. Instead of black, the color scheme was changed to feature the name of the company in a royal blue tone and the large “S” icon to bring red.
Suzuki has had an interesting sales history in almost all the countries it is present in. The U.S. market started off strong in the mid-1980s, peaking in the mid-2000s. Its highest year, according to CarSalesBase, was 2007 when 101,884 units were sold. Ultimately, the company pulled out of the market in 2012 after failing to be successful in creating midsize sedans and SUVs for Americans. The chart to the right shows the company’s sales trajectory from 1986 until its departure.
However, they have seen success in other markets, including Europe and China.
Many Different Models
Although there are no options available in the U.S., Suzuki is still a thriving global enterprise. Their 2022 lineup for other countries includes many compact, mid-sized, and large vehicles. Here’s a list of what’s currently available:
- Swift Sport
- S Cross SX4
Suzuki also has many popular models that can be purchased on the used market for a reasonable price. One of these, which is arguably the company’s most popular model, is the Swift (hatchback) – a compact car with 5 doors and 5 seats. According to Be Forward, it was produced from the 1980s to 2004. Drivers loved this model because of its speed, unique design, and up-to-date features. Some of the previous models were the Aerio, Forenza, Verona, Equator, Reno and SX4.
Suzuki is a Japanese company that has been wildly popular on a global scale. They are available in most continents across the globe. However, they pulled from the American market in 2012 after experiencing financial trouble. They still produce other equipment there, such as their motorcycles and other small utility vehicles.
The company pulled out of the Chinese market in 2018, along with several other countries.
As they celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2020, Suzuki reevaluated many of their sustainability initiatives. Like many car manufacturers, they wanted to do their part to help make the earth a cleaner and better place for their customers. According to their website, they have released a 30 year plan, stating: “On the environmental front, Suzuki formulated Environmental Vision 2050. Under this vision, we have set challenging goals with an eye toward 2050 based on four themes of “mitigation of climate change,” which we place particular focus on, “air conservation,” “water resource conservation,” and “resource circulation.” Through manufacturing, Suzuki is making efforts to not only reduce its carbon footprint, but also to recycle resources and reduce the burden on the water environment. In 2021, Suzuki also commenced various innovative initiatives through its businesses, such as introducing the device for outboard motors to collect marine microplastics.”
Although Suzuki is known as a reliable brand, many of their cars have received low ratings on safety standards and crash tests. While the company still has some work to do, the company is working to improve their safety features to make its vehicles safer for drivers.
Looking to Sell a Suzuki for Cash?
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