Suzuki Swift SportEnlarge Photo
Suzuki fans, we have bad news: if you were hoping to glimpse your favorite automaker's newest rides at the upcoming Los Angeles and Detroit auto shows, you're in for some disappointment.
For those who follow Suzuki, it's not surprising that the company is skipping Detroit. Suzuki hasn't appeared there since January of 2008, months before America hit the worst of the Great Recession in September of that same year.
The news about Los Angeles, however, is a little more shocking. Suzuki participated in the 2010 L.A. Auto Show, and the company was slated to take part this year, too. According to spokesperson Jeff Holland, however, Suzuki decided "very recently" to skip L.A. this go-round.
Why? Holland says that "For the upcoming season, our brand will selectively participate at auto shows where our distinctive and engaging story will resonate the most." For Suzuki, that means focusing attention on its 20 biggest markets -- those areas where the company has the most dealers and the most market share. Neither Detroit nor Los Angeles make the cut.
On the surface, Holland's logic makes a lot of sense. After all, if you have limited marketing dollars -- as every company does these days -- why not spend them on consumers who are most apt to like your products?
But while auto shows may be great for shoppers and enthusiasts, for automakers, they're really about making a splash with the media. So why would Suzuki dodge the swarms of journalists that converge on the L.A. and Detroit shows and the vast amounts of media coverage they provide? Only Suzuki can answer that.
For those who don't follow Suzuki, we're pleased to mention that the company's sales are up for the year. From January through September, Suzuki sales were 19.5% over the same period in 2010 -- though the company's volume of 20,284 for light cars and trucks pales in comparison to every other mainstream automaker (Saab excepted).
Is Suzuki avoiding the media because it has nothing to show? Or is the company using its dollars wisely to build market share? Only time will tell, but we wouldn't be the first to suggest that Suzuki might be cruising toward the same American fate that befell fellow Japanese automaker, Isuzu.