American Suzuki Motor Corp, which filed for Chapter XI yesterday, said the U.S. government deserves a lot of blame for its failure to thrive in the American car market. That’s bunk.
American Suzuki should look itself in the mirror. An uninspiring auto line-up is the main reason it went belly up, while fellow Japanese and Korean companies used to give Detroit headaches. Also, the carmaker didn't exactly impress the experts at J.D. Power & Assocs., who gave the Suzuki nameplate below average score in its 2012 quality ratings.
Yours truly rented a Suzuki Grand Vitara a couple of years ago in Las Vegas. The mini-SUV was okay driving down the strip, but was shake, rattle and roll when trying to zip through the desert on the way to Zion National Park at 60 miles an hour.
In ASMC’s bankruptcy press release, the company says it evaluated its position in the “highly regulated and competitive U.S. automotive industry.” Among serious challenges: “the high costs associated with growing and maintaining an automotive distribution system in the continental U.S. and the disproportionally high and increasing costs associated with stringent state and federal regulatory requirements unique to the U.S. market.” That’s a cop out.
ASMC does remain "dedicated to honoring its commitments to automotive customers through and after the wind down of new automobile sales in the continental U.S.” That’s the very least it could do.
There is a silver lining in the Chapter XI filing. There won’t be a lot of moaning from Suzuki owners. As evidenced by the 75 percent decline in unit sales over the past five years to 26K, Suzuki owners are a vanishing breed.