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American Suzuki Calls It Quits in the United States

American Suzuki Calls It Quits in the United States

By Jeff Youngs, November 06, 2012
American Suzuki announced on Monday, November 5, 2012, that it would cease selling automobiles and SUVs in the U.S. market, and would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. American Suzuki's parent company, Suzuki Motor Corp., is not filing for bankruptcy, and the company will continue to sell motorcycles and marine engines in the United States.

Suzuki Motor Corp. said that it would honor customer warranties, including what the company touted as "America's #1 Warranty," a fully transferrable, zero-deductible powertrain warranty lasting 7 years or 100,000 miles.

American Suzuki began selling a diminutive SUV called the Samurai for the 1986 model year, and sold nearly 47,000 units in its first year, according to a profile on Wikipedia. The tiny off-roader offered a convertible top and a low price, contributing to its popularity. Years later, Suzuki survived a devastating lawsuit pertaining to the Samurai's safety and stability, stemming from an evaluation by Consumers Union in 1988.

The company expanded its lineup during the 1990s, and partnered with General Motors to produce several of GM's Geo models. Suzuki continued to produce small cars and traditional SUVs with true off-roading capability even as market preferences shifted to larger vehicles and crossover SUVs. In partnership with GM, Suzuki purchased bankrupt Korean automaker Daewoo, rebadged several of Daewoo's vehicles for the U.S. market, and sold more than 100,000 vehicles in America in 2006.

Today, lacking a partnership with General Motors and having eliminated the aged Daewoo-based vehicles from its lineup, Suzuki sells the SX4 sedan and hatchback, Grand Vitara SUV, Kizashi midsize sedan, and the Equator pickup truck, which is based on the Nissan Frontier.

According to a statement by Suzuki, the company "intends to work within its current U.S. automotive dealer network to help structure a smooth transition from new automobile sales to exclusively parts and service operations, or, in some instances, an orderly wind-down of dealership operations."

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