Drive Type: 4 wheel drive
Trim: 2 door
Waterford Works, New Jersey, United States
Yesterday's announcement that American Suzuki has filed for bankruptcy is all but a death blow for the Japanese automaker's 246 US dealers, but if there's any good news coming out of the situation, it could be the fact that the whole process will likely be quick and painless rather than drawn out. WardsAuto is reporting that with the current inventory and average sales numbers so far this year, there figures to be about three months left for Suzuki's new-car business in the US given current sales rates.
In October, Suzuki sold 2,023 units - a five percent increase over last year - but with just 5,549 left in inventory, it shouldn't take too long to wind down operations. Sales for the brand peaked 2007 with more than 100,000 units sold, but this year, Suzuki is barely on pace to reach a quarter of that amount, with just 21,188 units sold so far in 2012. In addition to poor sales, WardsAuto also notes that Suzuki faced problems due to its reliance on customers with subprime credit.
Suzuki will continue to sell motorcycles, ATVs and marine engines in the US, while the brand's cars will still be on sale in other countries including Canada and Mexico.
Way back in 2004, Volkswagen took umbrage with Suzuki being granted permission to use the nameplate "SWIFT GTi" for a performance variant of its small-car offering (2012 equivalent seen here). Now, eight years and surely some very steep legal bills later, VW has finally dropped its claim against Suzuki.
The General Court of the European Union stated, back in March of this year, that Suzuki's GTi registration could not be confused with VW's "Golf GTI." Volkswagen had appealed that ruling, though has now reportedly called off the dogs. In fact, Germany's Die Welt reports that the appeal has been dead for several weeks now.
This news comes amongst continued arbitration acrimony between the two automakers, all revolving around VW's forced divestiture of nearly 20-percent stake it purchased in Suzuki some two years ago.
Bloomberg reports American Suzuki is set to borrow up to $45 million to to close its automotive dealerships and freshen up its it motorcycle and marine business. Suzuki Motor Corporation will loan American Suzuki the funds at three percent below the London Interbank offered rate in order to offer dealer owners a cash payment in exchange for voluntarily abandoning franchise agreements. The company's 216 dealers have 10 days to make a decision on the matter. Under the plan, Suzuki would give dealer owners half of what they're owed in one lump sum, and the dealers would then be able to pursue the remaining debt through the company's bankruptcy procedure.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Scott C. Clarkson granted American Suzuki interim authority to borrow the funds, but Bloomberg reports the company will likely return to court in a few weeks to seek up to $100 million. According to Richard Pachulski, a lawyer for Suzuki America, the automaker may owe its dealers somewhere around $50 million.