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NZ Market Reflects Booming Demand For Suzuki Cars

Booming Demand For Suzuki Cars Reflected In New Zealand Market

Strong demand for Suzuki cars in New Zealand is mirroring world markets for the Japanese brand.

Suzuki is on target to expand new car sales in New Zealand by at least 14 percent this year to 3,000 units after doubling sales between 2004 and 2005.

Volume is predicted to expand by a further 67 per cent to 5,000 cars by 2010, according to a Suzuki Motor Corporation spokesman.

To meet fast growing world demand, Suzuki is to build an additional plant capable of producing 240,000 units a year by 2008. The new Sagara factory represents an investment of NZ$850 million.

The brand is already making 2.2 million automobiles a year and last year produced 3.138 million motorcycles. In less than three years, Suzuki's annual global car and commercial vehicle production is predicted to top three million units.

Suzuki has been running fourth biggest Japanese car maker in Japan with 12.9 per cent share of the market but in the first seven months of 2006 moved to number three ahead of Honda.

Suzuki car sales in Australia went from 7,206 in 2004 to 13,794 last year and are targeted to reach a remarkable 40,000 by 2010.

Hirotaka Ono, a Senior General Manager for Suzuki, said at the company's Hamamatsu Headquarters recently, "We have serious back orders in the United States, Australia and New Zealand and cannot deliver enough vehicles."

He said there had been a 100 per cent increase in sales in 2005 but that volume would be stable this year because the company's plants could not produce any more vehicles than the existing output.

Suzuki plans to invest US$10 billion during the next five years, with future model plans including a new small car to be made in India and exported to world markets, with the exception of the United States.

This model will be smaller than the Swift, which is Suzuki's most successful car. Demand for the new Swift in Europe, for example, has increased from 50,000 a year for the previous model to 100,000.

The Swift has also been an outstanding sales success in Australia and New Zealand with the model being the number one selling supermini in New Zealand in 2005.

Mr Ono said India and Europe would be strategic areas for increasing Suzuki's offshore production, rather than China.

Maruti Udyog, India's largest car maker and a subsidiary of Suzuki, aims to produce one million cars a year by 2010.

In 2005 Maruti produced 562,000 vehicles, of which around 35,000 were exported. A series of factory expansions will see the Indian company make 400,000 cars for export by 2010.

Suzuki has been producing cars for 51 years and is Japan's largest manufacturer of mini or micro-size motor vehicles.

However, the company is cutting back on mini/micro production to allow extra capacity for its "global" models. These are the Swift, Grand Vitara and the all-new SX4 five-door hatchback which launches in New Zealand early next year.

"Suzuki is clearly a rising star in the motor industry with excellent long-term prospects, despite demand currently exceeding supply," said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand Ltd.


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