When news came that American Suzuki Motor Corporation was to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the news was pitched that it would benefit the company’s motorcycle interests, as Suzuki would no longer be tied-down with its ailing automotive division in the USA, and instead would be left to focus on its powersports offerings.

While that general statement may remain true, Powersports Business has learned that the Japanese OEM plans on closing 100 to 200 of its roughly 930 powersports dealerships. This would mean a roughly 10% to 20% reduction in Suzuki dealerships nationwide — a decision that has more than a few dealers feeling a bitter taste in their mouths.

The move is perhaps less surprising though, as American Suzuki — now called Suzuki Motor of America — is drastically restructuring its business, not just to exist without its automotive lines, but also on a more fundamental basis.

Hit hard by the recession, Suzuki has been slow to rebuild its business back here in the United States, which is worrisome considering that the American motorcycle industry has recovered to a greater extent than markets like Europe and Japan.

For the average Suzuki owner, the reduction in dealerships is probably still a good sign though, as it is likely that Suzuki is getting rid of its poorer performing dealerships, and consolidating dealer positions in previously over-saturated local markets.

For some dealers though, the loss of the Suzuki brand could put their business operations in precarious positions — a sign at how fragile the current state of affairs are for powersports dealers and the industry as a whole. Is a dealer near you getting the axe? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Powersports Business

  • Alex MacPherson

    Suzuki…. circling the drain.

  • Gritboy

    Makes good economic sense and makes this overly common brand (you can find one it seems every 10 miles) seem a bit more exclusive again.

  • Norm G.

    re: “For some dealers though, the loss of the Suzuki brand could put their business operations in precarious positions — a sign at how fragile the current state of affairs are for powersports dealers and the industry as a whole.”

    gentlemen… WELCOME TO THE BLOWBACK. courtesy of devaluing mentalities, all the things you “never thought could happen” are in fact happening right in front of you.

  • I was a lifelong die-hard Suzuki fan…..right up to the point when they joined with arch-nemesis Kawasaki. Now I ride a Honda. Because Suzuki doesn’t have the foresight to make a small displacement sportbike available here in the US. I’ll probably remain a Honda fan now. RIP brand loyalty — you sold out and I returned the favor.

  • Tony C

    Brand loyalty is a two way street. If the brand can’t continue to put out good product to keep people excited, your base will simply walk away. Stale products in the showrooms and withdraw from competition translates to shrinking market share. Doesn’t take a scientist to connect the dots here.

  • JoeD

    Momism # 132-Never put all of your eggs in one basket. (perhaps a less known but viable second or third line of product and service anything, not just your store brand.)

  • Bruce

    When the economy turned sour, two strategies were taken. The Japanese four cut back on R&D, slapped on bold new graphics, reduced production and decided to weather the storm by hunkering down. Suzuki embraced this strategy the most and didn’t even release a 2010 line up. The Europeans released many new models packed with technology and innovation. Suzuki has now declared bankruptcy and the Europeans have gained market share. A case study for future business classes.

  • Crsh&Brn

    Two local Suzuki dealers have closed recently – one of them just after the first of the year, and a multi-line dealer quit carrying them several years ago. It is now an hours drive to the nearest Suzuki dealer. I wonder how much the failed partnership with Volkswagen factors into Suzuki’s current situation. Does anyone else find it odd that there is a Suzuki add on the right side of the page?

  • jeffc


    Suzuki’s are selling again. Yes, its true. Their financing program is the best in the business and it attracts all new buyers and returning riders. Since it started these past months they have gone from the worst sellers in our store to the best. and believe me, we are in a huge area to see this effect. they also go for good prices with profits higher than most other japanese brands.

    also, most new riders in the market are not in the ‘must be most changed’ game for bike shopping. they never saw any of them over the past few years and they see them for the first time as their first choice. think of it, if you never saw a gsxr and never knew how they havent changed much for a bit, you’d probably still count them evenly with the other choices based on bike and style. think about it. not all, almost any, customers in dealerships today that we can make a dime on are enthusiasts. almost none.

    think about it.

    Suzuki is coming back.. Already has.


  • Tony C

    Not saying Suzuki isn’t trying. By god they are doing everything they can to stay afloat in the US. But gaining market share is perhaps the toughest thing to, with all your competitors pushing out new products and winning on the race track. I hope Suzuki does turn things around and attracts more buyers, not thru incentives to the dealers and buyers, but thru innovative and superior products. Winning a few more races in WSBK would help, too.

    I hope you are right, Jc.

  • Norm G.

    re: “Suzuki embraced this strategy the most and didn’t even release a 2010 line up.”

    don’t mis-speak. they didn’t IMPORT a 2010 line up. this because there was already so much inventory on the books. would’ve been bad practice. and let’s face it, there was nothing wrong with the ’09 M.Y. we just suffer from devaluing mentalities and like the thought of being spoiled and having our every whim catered to even to the point of irresponsibility. we know full well we have ZERO intentions of coming off the dime. the euros aren’t doing anything that the japanese hadn’t already done 10 and 20 years ago when their kit was overweight and antique. in fact, if it weren’t for the japanese setting the benchmark so high, we wouldn’t have ANY of what we have now. as a group, we really have to smarten up.

  • Phil Neff

    I would be sad if Suzuki quit all together. They have done some very nice customer/rider engineering. Take the Burgman for example, it was way ahead of its time with large engine, built in vast storage, nice touches like the ignition key popping up the seat and plenty of cubby holes for glasses etc. Just now the new BMW scooters are entering the market about 5 years late. Or take the Vstrom, it was the first universal reasonably priced bike for every day use. It puts together just the right amount of speed, torque, and comfort. Those in the know have been avid followers for the ten years that the Vstrom has been on sale.

    In sum, Suzuki makes well thought-out bikes. They deserve to be appreciated more. Perhaps it is their maketing that is bad? To me the bikes are great and I would be sad to see the brand disappear.