Drive Type: 4 wheel drive
Trim: 2 door
Waterford Works, New Jersey, United States
By now, you're surely aware that Suzuki is pulling out of the US market. It was a bit of a foregone conclusion to most who've been paying attention to the automotive realm, but it still sent a small shockwave through the industry. And one of the most oft-heard retorts goes something like this: "Next up: Mitsubishi."
It's easy to understand why many question Mitsubishi's existence in the States. After all, now that Suzuki is gone, Mitsubishi is the Japanese automaker with the fewest sales in America. Furthermore, the automaker's market share has dropped from .7 percent to just .4 percent after seeing sales fall 29 percent to 50,103 units through October.
In any case, Mitsubishi fans needn't worry. Speaking to Automotive News, Mitsubishi President Osamu Masuko said, "We have no intention whatsoever of withdrawing from the US market." That's about as clear as clear can get. It's also worth mentioning that Gayu Uesugi was just named chairman of Mitsubishi Motors North America, and his main responsibility will be to revitalize the brand in the US.
Suzuki's plant in Manesar, India builds cars for Australia, specifically its Alto small car. Or at least they were building cars before violent worker riots forced the factory to close. The plant has been idled for five weeks as a result of worker violence that led to the death of one manager and 95 injuries. The riot was spurred over a labor dispute - specifically, a gulf in salaries between temporary workers and their salaried counterparts who earn triple the contract workers' wages.
According to reports, on Tuesday, the factory re-opened with more than 1,200 police officers stationed around the plant. The staff of actual workers at the plant numbers just 75 currently, meaning the police force greatly outnumbers Suzuki employees.
The number of employees will eventually grow to 300, and the officers will run in shifts of 100 at a time, but the initial disparity of workers to police is meant as a show of force to the more than 500 permanent and 500 temporary workers who were found to be involved in a July 18 riot.
Following word that Suzuki is ceasing car sales in America, it appears that demand for the Japanese automaker's wares have increased. According to The Detroit News, American Suzuki Motor Corp. will import an additional 2,500 vehicles to quench demand that has jumped since the company announced that it was filing for bankruptcy and ending sales in America.
Dealers recently informed their sales personnel that no more vehicles would be produced and that this was the final push. With heavy incentives and a seven-year warranty as value-adds, November sales for Suzuki rose in November some 22 percent, up to 2,224 vehicles. December sales also rose, but neither month's gains outweigh the long-term losses for the automaker. While Suzuki will sell roughly 22,000 cars this year in the US, it was selling about 120,000 annually before 2008.
As it stands, Suzuki will sell off the rest of its vehicle inventory, including the 2,500 additional units, and dealers will continue to provide parts an warranty work. With all of this negative news for the automaker, it's impressive to see an interest in Suzuki vehicles even with the imminent shuttering of its North American car sales.