Drive Type: 4x4
Newburgh, Indiana, United States
Suzuki has won approval for its Chapter 11 plan to stop selling cars in the US and concentrate instead on the company's powersports products. Judge Scott C. Clarkson of the US Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California approved the plan after the company's creditors agreed to the conditions.
Suzuki will now sell its motorcycle, ATV and marine divisions to the newly minted Suzuki Motor of America subsidiary under the Suzuki name. The new company will be wholly owned by Suzuki Motor Company. This is the final piece of the company's restructuring puzzle.
The company says it will now be able to grow its powersports businesses here in the US and also provide auto parts and service to current Suzuki owners through what's left of the company's dealer network. You can check out the brief press release on the bankruptcy plan below.
The death of Suzuki's American automotive operations can be chalked up to many, many things. One thing it cannot be blamed on, however, is the arguable goodness of its products. The company's criminally underrated offerings included the Kizashi sedan, the SX4 compact and your author's personal favorite, the Grand Vitara.
The GV rode on a radically different version of General Motors' Theta platform, which underpins the American manufacturer's current crop of crossovers, like the Chevrolet Equinox. What made the Grand Vitara special, though, was that it wasn't just another run-of-the-mill CUV. Buying the cheapest model meant living with rear-wheel drive rather than the Theta's typical front drive. Spend a bit of money, though, and you'd end up with an honest-to-goodness off-roader, sporting selectable four-wheel drive complete with low-range gearbox. It also comfortably sat five, was reasonably efficient and was quite handsome. We aren't totally sure how it turned into this.
This, of course, being the new Vitara (it replaces the Escudo, the vehicle Americans know as the Grand Vitara), and it will make its global debut at October's Paris Motor Show, which has ditched its four-wheel-drive system for a part-time all-wheel-drive system called Allgrip.
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.