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Suzuki Slouches Toward Bankruptcy. America Shrugs.

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2013 Suzuki Kizashi

2013 Suzuki Kizashi

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Remember the outrage sparked by Saab's bankruptcy announcement? It set off a skirmish of accusations and denials, with investors clamoring to buy a stake in the quirky car company, then silently slinking away, until finally at the 11th hour, a group of Chinese and Japanese funders rode into Saab Town and saved the day.

Back in November, Suzuki announced that it was filing for bankruptcy, too. The world yawned.

True, there were some differences between the two. Saab was shutting its doors worldwide, while Suzuki was only 86ing the American portion of its car business. After the automaker closes up shop in the U.S., folks elsewhere on Planet Earth will still be able to buy Suzukis all they like.

And granted, Suzuki made its announcement on the same say as a highly contentious U.S. presidential election. Naturally, folks had other things to talk about. 

Still, the speed of Suzuki's exit is remarkable. Over the weekend, as AutoNews reports, a federal bankruptcy court in California approved Suzuki's restructuring plan, which will allow the automaker to wrap up U.S. auto operations by March 31. Assuming that timeline holds, the process will have taken less than six months from start to finish. 

If you're a fan of Suzuki's ATVs, boat engines, and motorcycles, don't be alarmed: the company will continue selling all three, though it will do so under a slightly new name. What was once "American Suzuki" will emerge from bankruptcy as "Suzuki Motor of America".

If you're hoping to score a deal on a discontinued Suzuki ride, however, you may be too late. Sales spiked after the company's bankruptcy announcement, but year-over-year sales were down 26.5% at the end of February. That could mean that consumers are wary of being stuck with an orphaned vehicle, or it could mean that the pickings in showrooms are very, very slim.

A Suzuki rep couldn't tell AutoNews how many vehicles remain in stock, however the company notes that all existing warranties will be honored, and that the majority of its dealership network will continue servicing Suzuki vehicles.

As of today, the company's automotive website is still up and running, so grab those Kizashis while you can.

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Comments (3)
  1. I still loved the test drive I took of the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi. It was an automatic CVT transmission and a grey-colored one. Negotiations to buy a Kizashi didn't work out, though. But the car was strong, solid, niceley-designed and beautiful. I would've been happy as a clam ta own and drive one. Especially in red. And in 6-speeds to row through cleanly and sharply.
     
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  2. Interestingly, I just visited a "pocket" of high Suzuki sales in the hills of western PA (Altoona). Those folks love the 4x4 SUVs there, rugged, reliable, inexpensive compared to Toyota, Honda. I couldn't find one person who had a clue that Suzuki was going away. I owned two of these vehicles long ago, a '77 coupe' that rusted out completely in the northern winters of CT and IL; and later, a Samurai that I really liked for what it was. Only took one road trip in it and that was enough, but that things would go anywhere off road in any weather without sucking huge quantities of gas. For what it costs and what it would do, it was a "best buy" despite CR's rip. Guess they didn't realize it wasn't a sports car.
     
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  3. Suzuki makes great bikes, but got into the car game too late and couldn't compete on gas mileage or styling. They might have has a better shot if they concentrated on SUV's, which offered some style and value. Mitsubishi seems to be going down the same route.
     
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