Suzuki Motor Corporation is a well-known Japanese multinational company in the automotive industry. The vendor researches, develops, designs, manufactures, sells, and distributes automobiles, motorcycles, marine engines, all-terrain vehicles, four-wheel drives, and special and industrial machinery that are marketed in more than 190 countries worldwide.
With headquarters in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan, it has a total of around 45,000 employees spread around the globe. It has offices and production facilities in more than 23 countries, and distribution outlets in 133 countries.
Suzuki Motor Corporation was founded in October 1909 by Michio Suzuki in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. The company was then called Suzuki Loom Works but was later incorporated as Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Co. Due to the negative effects of the war in 1945, the company had to close plants and move its offices to the Takatsuka Plant site, in Kami-mura, Hamana-gun, Shizuoka. Two years after, the Suzuki head office moved to its present address.
In the early 50s, the company ventured into the motor vehicles segment, launching the 36cc Power Free, a two-cycle motorized bicycle in 1952, followed by the 60cc Diamond Free, in 1953, which was a huge success.
The organization revised its name to Suzuki Motor Co. Ltd. in June 1954. The following year, the 360cc Suzulight ushered in Japan's mini-vehicle era. Three years later, the "S" mark became the company's corporate logo. In the succeeding years, more products were launched including the electric-starter motorcycle Colleda Sel Twin, outboard motors the first on being the D55 5.5hp, and mini full-cab vans.
Suzuki marked its footprints in many areas – in the medical field in which the manufacturer pioneered a motorized wheelchair referred to as Motor Chair Z600 and in the housing industry where the company designed and launched a prefabricated house and storage shed.
To support production of its products and their parts, the company erected a few plants over the years, including the Tokoyawa Plant in Aichi Prefecture, which was dedicated to manufacturing lightweight trucks; the Osuka Plant that was mainly for foundry operations, located in Ogasa, Shizuoka; the Kosai Plant located in Kosai, Shizuoka, intended for automobile production; the Toyokawa Plant, located in Aichi, to support the production of medium-size and large motorcycles; Iwata Plant in Shizuoka, dedicated to automobile production; and the Toyama Plant in Oyabe, built solely for motorcycle production. The first motorcycle plant outside of Japan, the Thai Suzuki Motor Co. Ltd., was built in Thailand.
Direct sales subsidiaries were established by Suzuki Motor Corp., among them the U.S. Suzuki Motor Corp. in Los Angeles, California; Suzuki Motor GmbH Deutschland in Heppenheim, Germany; Suzuki France S.A. in Trappes, France; and Suzuki of America Automotive Corp., a car sales subsidiary. Holding company American Suzuki Motor Corp. was also built in Brea, California.
In the 1970s, Suzuki entered a joint venture with Indonesia for its Jakarta-based part production company called P.T. Suzuki Indonesia Manufacturing, and had its first overseas car production with the assembly of the Jimny LJ50 4x4 car in Pakistan. The 1980s brought about many important milestones for Suzuki, among them was its launch of three models of electric power generators, marking its entry to the field of general-purpose engine. It was also during this decade that U.S. automaker General Motors Corp. purchased a 5.3% stake in Suzuki and Japanese automaker Isuzu Motors Ltd. In addition, Suzuki signed several deals with public and private entities in several countries for joint development, production, and distribution of cars and motorcycles. It was in the 90s that the company changed its name to Suzuki Motor Corporation.
More joint ventures and tie ups were formed in the next decades and Suzuki kept improving and innovating its automobile, motorcycle, and special machines lineup to the products the company has today.
Suzuki arrived in the Philippines as early as 1959 with Rufino D. Antonio and Associates Inc. as the official Suzuki motorcycle distributor nationwide. Sixteen years later, in July 1975, Suzuki Motor Co. Ltd. and Rufino D. Antonio and Associates Inc. signed a joint venture under the name Antonio Suzuki Corporation, which boosted the sales of Suzuki motorcycles in the country.
The Philippines' economic instability in 1984 led Suzuki to take over the operations from Antonio Suzuki Corporation. Thus, in February 1985, Suzuki Philippines, Inc. (SPH), a wholly owned company of Suzuki Motor Co. Ltd., was born and announced to the Philippine market.
Since its inception, Suzuki Philippines Inc. has enjoyed a warm welcome by Philippine customers and the sales from the brand's motorcycle products were stable. There was steady demand from the Philippine market for all types of motorbikes, from tricycles to solo-ride models, private and company-owned mopeds, scooters, and trail bikes, which prodded the company to regularly issue new models to suit market needs.
In 1990, SPH shipped 114 motorcycle units to Suzuki S.A. in Guatemala, making it the first motorcycle company to export Suzuki-brand motorcycles. More units were shipped in the succeeding years as the company's motorcycle export business peaked.
The 1990s saw new motorcycle models being launched gradually by SPH, setting new standards for speed, fashion, and comfortable motorcycle riding. In October 1999, SPH took over the local automobile operations of Suzuki from Pilipinas Transport Industries Inc. (PTII). In July 2000, the brand's flagship model, the Grand Vitara, with its all-new 2.5-liter v6 engine, was introduced. From 2001 onward, the Philippine market enjoyed many innovations from SPH as the local company continuously released new models and upgrades, each more powerful and economical than the next, such as the flagship model Raider and the Shogun Pro in the motorcycle segment and the XL-7 in the automobile segment.
The Suzuki APV, Swift 1.5L, and Grand Vitara 2.0L were introduced in 2005, all of which immediately became popular in the local market. In 2012, SPH relocated its factory to Canlubang, Calamba, Laguna, a 37,265 sqm. plant area meant to support its localization and expansion program in the country. Today, the Suzuki motorcycle and car brands are widely known and accepted locally for selling value-packed automobile models, such as with the Vitara, Swift, Swift Dzire, Celerio, Ciaz, APV, and Jimny.
Given the wide range of products of Suzuki, popular choices vary from one country or one region to another. In the automobile segment, in 2018, the Ertiga, Vitara and Celerio topped the charts in the local market.
The 7-seater Suzuki Ertiga remains the top-selling Suzuki vehicle, with the latest Ertiga model's engine boasting K15B 1.5-L DOHC inline-4 gasoline mill that features VVT technology. It comes in either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic tranny.
Right behind the heels of the Ertiga in terms of sales are the two award-winning Suzuki units, the Celerio and Vitara. The Celerio is a hatchback that uses a 1.0-liter three-cylinder KB10B petrol engine that has a light compact body but packs a punch for a smooth, efficient drive in the city and the countryside. Awarded CAGI Car of the Year in 2017 under the subcompact crossover category, the Vitara offers drivers and enthusiasts alike an enhanced driving and safety features, with its 1.0 and 1.4 Boosterjet direct-injection turbo engine.
Other models that get attention are the Swift and the APV. The Swift has gotten popular in the country with its mini-coupe design and affordable price tag. The latest iteration sports a compact 1.2-liter K12M inline-4 gasoline engine attached to either a five-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission. The five-door, eight-seater Suzuki APV, on the other hand, sports a versatile design and runs on a 1.6-liter SOHC gasoline engine paired with a five-speed manual transmission. It is cheaper than most SUVs, and it is purchased for both private and commercial use. Th APV is compact enough for handling and parking ease but has spacious interior cabin and a flat floor designed for comfort and utility.
In the motorbike segment, the flagship Raider 125 and 150 paved the way for Suzuki to take the lead in the Philippine sporty underbone category. The Smash is yet another powerful yet economical and fashionable underbone motorcycle. In the scooter category, the Skydrive leads in terms of popularity, while the GSX series tops the big bike category. Tricycles are also a common mode of transportation in both urban and rural Philippines, and the 4-stroke SOHC-engine powered backbone motorcycle Suzuki GD110 is a popular choice for tricycle owners.
Suzuki's car production had grown for the second consecutive year. For the calendar year 2018, it had a global production of 3.4 million units globally, up by 104.1 percent year-on-year.
The vendor's automobile production in Japan saw a 103 percent boost, churning 1.0 million units, on the back of increase in passenger cars for the local market. Overseas production also expanded two-fold, due to record-high output in India and Pakistan.
Suzuki Philippines (SPH), on the other hand, had strong sales performance in the first half of 2018, with a six percent growth in unit sales from that of last year. Even though the entire local auto industry suffered a 12 percent decline in sales performance, mainly due to the effects of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law, SPH was able to achieve six percent sales increase.
Consistent with its performance during the first quarter of 2018, the Ertiga, Celerio, Vitara and Ciaz drove Suzuki sales in the second quarter of the year. The four well-loved units combined accounted for more than 70 percent of the first half 2018 sales.
Suzuki Motor Corp. aims to provide customers with value-packed products and has displayed creativity, originality, and flexibility in its development of products and technologies. It highly recognizes that the definition of "value" varies per country and is influenced by the people's lifestyles and degrees of economic development; hence, it adapts its products' designs according to those needs.
Suzuki invests time and effort into researching energy and environmental conservation technologies, both for its products and its production facilities. Its vehicles are designed to reduce emissions, noise, and fuel consumption, while its manufacturing plants strive to incorporate natural resource recycling, regeneration of resin parts, and advanced utilization of waste.
Suzuki is committed to be a contributor to the economy and community life of the geographies where its products are manufactured and sold.