Suzuki: Company History, Current Models, Interesting Facts ...


A Japanese multinational corporation, Suzuki specializes in manufacturing automobiles, four-wheel drive vehicles, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, outbound marine engines and more. The company employs some 45,000 people and operates 35 production facilities in 23 countries, as well as 133 distributors in 192 countries. Japan’s second-largest manufacturer of small cars and trucks, Suzuki was the 10th-biggest automaker “by production” in the world as of 2011. Based in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan, Suzuki often manufactures vehicles with other automakers, such as General Motors.

Company History

Michio Suzuki founded Suzuki Loom Works in 1909 in the small coastal village of Hamamatsu. Originally a successful weaving loom company for Japan’s substantial silk industry, a new Suzuki loom was created in 1929 and exported overseas. Celebrated as a highly-complex machine, the company spent the next 30 years dedicated to crafting and selling these amazing products

Suzuki eventually decided to explore other markets, and in 1937 began designing a small car inspired by consumer demand. In two years Suzuki had several compact prototype cars under his tool belt, and the first Suzuki models were powered by innovative, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, four-cylinder engines. They featured cast aluminum crankcases and gearboxes and generated 13 horsepower from a “displacement of less than 800cc.”

The Japanese government halted production of civilian passenger cars during World War II, which threw a proverbial wrench into Suzuki’s vehicle plans. He returned to producing looms after the war, however the cotton market collapsed in 1951, forcing Suzuki to reconsider motor vehicle design. He responded to the Japanese need for reliable, inexpensive transportation and created the 1952 Power Free, a motorized bicycle featuring a 36 cc, one horsepower, two-stroke engine. Its double-sprocket gear system allowed the rider to pedal with or without engine assist, or rely on engine power alone. Japan’s new democratic government patent office provided Suzuki with financing backing to continue research on motorcycle engineering, which birthed the Suzuki Motor Corporation.

By 1954 Suzuki was manufacturing 6,000 motorcycles a month and renamed the company Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd. Suzuki went on to design a very successful car, the 1955 Suzuki Suzulight, which featured the then-uncommon four-wheel drive, four-wheel independent suspension and rack-and-pinion steering.

In January 2010 Volkswagen AG purchased a 19.9% share of Suzuki, and remains its biggest shareholder. The company celebrated its 50th U.S. motorcycle market anniversary in 2013 with a Special Edition GSX-R1000 model.

Flagship Model

Suzuki’s current flagship model is the Suzuki Kizashi, a mid-size, four-door sedan featuring front-wheel drive (FWD) and a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. The car became available to North American buyers in December 1999.

Available transmissions include a 6-speed manual and a continuously-variable transmission (CVT). Additional features include Akebono-sourced brakes, 17 and 18-inch alloy wheels, choice of cloth or leather seating and a 425-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system featuring iPod connectivity and Bluetooth capability. All-wheel drive is optional, and the Kizashi earned a 5 out of 5 star safety rating from ANCAP.

Despite three concept versions of the vehicle, the sedan will see gradual discontinuation in U.S. markets.

Current Models

Suzuki currently produces over 25 car models, including kei, city, subcompact, minivan, compact MPVs and off-road vehicles. These models are sold around the world.

Among these models is the Suzuki Jimny (off-road), Suzuki Splash (city car), Suzuki Swift (compact car), Suzuki SR4 (compact car), Suzuki Ertiga (compact MPV), and Suzuki APV (budget MPV).

With so many reliable options to choose from, there’s truly a Suzuki for everyone.

Previous Models

Suzuki has produced a range of vehicles since its incarnation as an automobile manufacturer, including compact vehicles such as the Suzuki Aerio, subcompact cars such as the Suzuki Ignis, small, two-seater SUVs such as the Suzuki X-90, and supermini cars such as the Suzuki Cultus. Additional previous models include the Suzuki Mighty Boy, the only “bonnet type” pick-up sold in the “550 cc era” of the Kei class.

Interesting Facts

Suzuki currently produces more cars than other well-known brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz, with Osamu Suzuki the head of the company for the past 30 years. His wife is the granddaughter of Michio Suzuki, and Osamu Suzuki is the fourth “mukoyōshi,” or adopted son-in-law, to oversee the company.

The famous Hayabusa motorcycle is one of the world’s fastest two-wheelers with speeds reaching 186mph.

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd unit is the company’s biggest market outside of Japan, and sells cars to half of the country’s population.

Suzuki is also New Zealand’s top-selling motorcycle brand, and the company behind the island nation’s most popular small car, the Suzuki Swift. The first-ever 4-wheel ATV was created by Suzuki on a New Zealand farm.

Suzuki Motor Corporation is a one of the ten biggest car manufacturers on the planet, and continues to place its focus on innovative compact cars. The company’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions without “neglecting style and performance” are among plans for the future.

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