Suzuki Motor Corporation is a Japanese manufacturing company producing a range of small automobiles (especially Keicars), a full range of motorcycles, outboard motors, and a variety of other small combustion-powered engine products.
The company started out as Suzuki Loom Works in 1909. In 1952 it created the motorized bicycle (called Power Free) which featured a 2x36 cc engine. This bike was popular, so in 1954 it introduced a second bicycle.
In 1954 the company's name changed into Suzuki Motor Corporation. In 1955 Suzuki introduced its first mass-produced car, the Suzulight.
During the 1970s, the models Fonte (in different variations such as the 360 or the Viola) and Jimny (small cross-country) were produced.
In 1985, Suzuki made an agreement with General Motors to meet the increasing demand for small cars. With the help of Isuzu (GM had a large stake in them at that time) the Chevrolet Sprint (Suzuki Cultus in Japan) was introduced in the United States.
Also in 1985 the Samurai (a small off-roader; Jimny in Japan and SJ410/SJ413 elsewhere) was the first car in the United States released under the Suzuki brand, as a 1986 model. It was successful until Consumer Reports got it to roll over in a 1988 test.
1989 was a big model year. Suzuki both redesigned its Swift and began selling it in-house for the first time, and a new small SUV called Sidekick was introduced, bringing Suzuki's model count to three. With 1989 also being the birthyear of GM's Geo brand, both Suzukis came to lead a double-life as the Geo Metro and Geo Tracker.
In 1995 Suzuki brought the Esteem sedan to America, which was barely any bigger or more powerful than the Swift and always sold modestly. Total production of Suzuki reached more than 975,000 cars this year.
In 1996, Suzuki unleashed an extremely odd and underpowered microscopic convertible SUV, the X-90 to replace the Samurai. It lasted three model years and died after 1998. That was also the Sidekick's last year, which got replaced by the Vitara and Grand Vitara for 1999. Note: Geo died in 1997, after which the Metro and Tracker got rebadged as Chevrolets.
After 2001, the Swift/Metro (by then the most underpowered car in America) was gone. The Esteem also left us, to be replaced with the Aerio for 2002. Suzuki was now down from two SUVs to one, and two cars to one.
In 2004, General Motors rebadged two Daewoo sedans with the Suzuki name: the compact Forenza (Daewoo Nubira/Daewoo Lacetti) and mid-size Verona (Daewoo Magnus, formerly Daewoo Leganza). The Forenza gained wagon and hatchback body styles for 2005, with the hatchback sold under the Reno name. Suzuki plans an all-new SUV to take the Grand Vitara/XL-7's place for 2006.
Beginning with the Chevrolet Sprint, Suzuki has built cars for other manufacturers. In Europe, the main rebadged Suzuki is the Subaru Justy and G3X Justy, which has been a version of its Swift and, more recently, its Ignis. Most of Mazda's (and Autozam's) smallest vehicles are made by Suzuki, as is the Nissan Moco. Suzuki's Samurai/Sierra was also known as the Holden Drover between 1985 and 1987. The Chevrolet Cruze and Holden Cruze are also on Suzuki platforms?again the Ignis's but with a Holden-designed body. The Geo and Chevrolet Tracker were Suzuki Vitaras by another name.
1909 – Suzuki Loom Works is founded in Hamamatsu, Japan, by Michio Suzuki.
1920 – Reorganized as Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Company.
1952 – Suzuki introduces first motorized bicycle – the 36cc Power Free.
1953 – Suzuki introduces first motorcycle – the 60cc Diamond Free – which wins Mt. Fuji Hill Climb.
1954 – Renamed as Suzuki Motor Company, Ltd.
1955 – Suzuki’s first mass-produced car, the innovative front-drive Suzulight 360cc, goes on sale in Japan.
1962 – Suzuki wins 50cc class championship at the Isle of Man (British Isles) TT race.
1963 – With growing engineering and manufacturing capabilities, Suzuki enters the U.S. motorcycle market and establishes U.S. Suzuki Motor Corporation, in Los Angeles.
1965 – Suzuki introduces its first outboard motor – the 5.5 horsepower D55. 1970 – Suzuki launches the Jimny 4x4.
1973 – Suzuki enters Canada as Suzuki Canada Ltd.
1974 – Suzuki introduces the rotary-powered RE-5 motorcycle.
1975 – Suzuki introduces the first of the RM competition motocross series – the RM125 – which begins a 10-year run of dominance in the World Motocross competition scene.
1981 – Suzuki introduces the GSX1100S Katana, showing the world that Suzuki design can be as impressive as Suzuki engineering performance.
1982 – Suzuki launches first four-wheel ATV – LT125 – and promptly establishes an all-new recreational segment.
1985 – Suzuki of America Automotive Corporation is established, and the Samurai compact SUV goes on sale. Suzuki introduces the GSX-R750 sportbike, bringing road racing DNA to the street. Suzuki continues to lead the ATV market by introducing the QuadSport LT250, a high-performance sport ATV powered by a two-stroke engine – the first machine of its kind.
U.S. automobile line: Samurai.
1988 – Suzuki launches the compact Sidekick four-wheel-drive sport-utility vehicle and the Swift compact car.
U.S. automobile line: Swift, Samurai and Sidekick.
1989 – Total aggregate Suzuki car production reaches 10 million units. CAMI Automotive Inc., an automotive assembly facility jointly owned by General Motors of Canada Limited and Suzuki Motor Corp. is established and begins operation in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada.
1990 – Official corporate name changed to American Suzuki Motor Corporation.
1991 – The Suzuki KingQuad ATV is introduced, featuring locking front differential, fully independent suspension
and multi-range transmission.
1995 – Esteem joins the U.S. lineup, which now totals four vehicles: two cars and two SUVs.
U.S. automobile line: Swift, Esteem, Samurai, X-90 and Sidekick. 1996 – Suzuki Motor de Mexico is established.
1998 – Suzuki equips the 1998 GSX-R750 with Suzuki fuel injection, launching even more responsive motorcycles and an engineering trend that would reach across powersports product lines less than 10 years later. Suzuki expands its Burgman scooter line to include the Burgman 400, then the most powerful scooter in existence.
1999 – Suzuki’s SUV line is enhanced with the arrival of the compact Vitara and larger Grand Vitara. American highways are transformed with the introduction of the Suzuki GSX1300R Hayabusa, soon to be documented as the world’s fastest production motorcycle by the Guinness Book of World Records.
U.S. automobile line: Swift, Esteem, Vitara and Grand Vitara.
2000 – With the arrival of its largest vehicle yet, the XL-7, Suzuki offers seven-passenger seating for the first time. Suzuki Marine introduces DF90 and DF115 four-stroke outboards.
2001 – At the Tokyo Motor Show, Suzuki unveils the concept B-King motorcycle.
2002 – Suzuki reaches 30 million cumulative automobile sales worldwide and introduces the Aerio and America’s #1Warranty: a100,000-mile/seven-year,fullytransferable,zero-deductiblepowertrainlimitedwarranty.Suzuki officially opens the Suzuki Manufacturing of America facility in Rome, Ga., beginning ATV assembly in America with the Suzuki Eiger series of ATVs.
U.S.automobileline: Aerio,Esteem,Vitara,GrandVitaraandXL-7. 2003 – SMC’s consolidated sales reaches two trillion Japanese yen.
U.S. automobile line: Aerio sedan and Aerio SX, Vitara, Grand Vitara and XL-7.
2004 – Forenza is introduced to U.S. market. Suzuki introduces the Boulevard cruiser line, establishing a new era of cruisers in America with models like the Boulevard M50, Boulevard C90 and others, delivering Suzuki performance to the cruiser market.
U.S. automobile line: Aerio sedan and Aerio SX, Forenza, Grand Vitara and XL-7.
2005 – ASMC celebrates its 20th anniversary in the U.S. automotive market and sets a new all-times sales record. The five-door Reno compact and Forenza Wagon join the product line. Suzuki introduces the KingQuad 700 ATV, delivering Suzuki fuel injection to the ATV market.
U.S.automobileline: Reno,AeriosedanandAerioSX,Forenza,ForenzaWagon,Verona,GrandVitaraandXL- 7.
2006 – ASMC sells 100,990 vehicles, the first time in its 22-year history the company posted annual sales of more than 100,000 in the U.S. Suzuki introduces the redesigned Grand Vitara.
2007 – ASMC sells 101,884 vehicles, marking the company’s fourth consecutive year-over-year sales increase, third consecutive all-time record sales year and second successive year of 100,000-plus units sold in the U.S. Suzuki introduces the XL7 midsize crossover SUV and five-door SX4 Crossover. Suzuki introduces the DF300, the world’s first 300-horsepower four-stroke outboard motor.
U.S. automobile line: XL7, Grand Vitara, SX4 Crossover, Aerio sedan, Forenza, Forenza Wagon and Reno.
2008 – Suzuki bought back its own 20% equity shares from General Motors. Suzuki expands the SX4 family to include the four-door SX4 Sport. Suzuki assembles its 250,000th ATV at the Suzuki Manufacturing of America facility in Rome, Ga. The B-King is introduced as a production bike worldwide.
U.S. automobile line: XL7, Grand Vitara, SX4 Crossover and SX4 Sport, Forenza, Forenza Wagon and Reno.
2009 – December Suzuki signs an equity share agreement with Volkswagen AG purchasing 19.9% of Suzuki shares while Suzuki purchased 1.9% in Volkswagen. Suzuki introduces the Equator midsize pickup truck, fulfilling the needs of Suzuki motorcycle, ATV and marine owners and enthusiasts. Suzuki Motor Corporation reaches worldwide automotive sales of 40 million units.
U.S. automobile line: XL7, Grand Vitara, SX4 Crossover and SX4 Sport and Equator.
2010 – Suzuki introduces the Kizashi, the company’s first entry into the all-wheel-drive sport sedan segment. Suzuki also adds a new SX4 variant – the SX4 SportBack.
U.S. automobile line: Kizashi, Grand Vitara, SX4 Crossover, SX4 Sport and SX4 SportBack and Equator.
2011 – Suzuki broadens the Kizashi family with the introduction of the all-new Kizashi Sport.
U.S. automobile line: Kizashi, Grand Vitara, SX4 Crossover, SX4 Sport and SX4 SportBack and Equator.
2012 - Suzuki leaves the US market to focus on motorcycles. American Suzuki Motor Corporation (“ASMC”), a subsidiary of Suzuki Motor Corporation (“SMC”) which distributes automobiles, motorcycles, ATVs, marine products and related parts/accessories in the United States (excluding Hawaii), resolved, during its Board of Directors meeting held on November 5, 2012 (local time), to commence a reorganization proceeding under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, in connection with winding down of its U.S. automobile marketing business and the concentration on its motorcycle, ATV and marine products businesses. As a result, SMC’s distribution of its automobiles in the continental United States will be discontinued.
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