Company cuts car sales in US to focus on bikes and boats

American Suzuki Motors, beset by low sales, cut-throat competition and unfavourable foreign exchange rates, says it will pull out of the US car market and file for bankruptcy protection.

The company this week said it would continue its motorcycle and marine engine business units and would continue to honour customer warranties.

Japanese parent company Suzuki Motor Corp is not filing for bankruptcy.

American Suzuki cited its poor US car sales, high costs, regulatory requirements and unfavourable foreign exchange rates as factors that contributed to the decision to wind down its automotive business.


"While the decision to discontinue new automobile sales in the US was difficult to make, today's actions were inevitable under these circumstances," the company said.

Suzuki has about 246 US dealers. The company "intends to work within its current US 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", Suzuki said.

Suzuki's US sales through October totalled 21,188 vehicles, down 5 per cent on the same period last year. The entire US market has risen 14 per cent through October.

In New Zealand, Suzuki is a strong player thanks to the Swift hatchback. It sat in sixth spot last month for new car sales, while its motorbike, the GN125, is the favourite for Kiwis (see 36-37).

Suzuki's US line-up comprised the SX4, Grand Vitara, Kizashi and the Equator ute, which is essentially a rebadged Nissan Navara.