Record Sales Put Suzuki In Good Heart
Record Sales Put Suzuki In Good Heart
Sales of new Suzuki cars in New Zealand have shattered more records in the opening two months of 2008 following strong demand last year.
Suzuki ranked fourth best new passenger brand after January and February, a four-place improvement on the brand’s record sales last year.
In year to date sales, according to official Motor Industry Association figures, Suzuki captured a record 7.76 per cent of the total new passenger car market, finishing close behind Ford.
At the same time, Suzuki finished ahead of Honda, Mazda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Nissan for the opening two months of 2008.
Strong demand for Suzuki in February followed an all-time monthly high in January when 595 Suzuki passenger cars were registered.
The class-leading Suzuki Swift supermini was again a clear number one in its sector and the third best-selling model range overall, beaten only by the Toyota Corolla and Holden Commodore.
Suzuki had two models in the top ten best sellers list after two months. In January the brand’s versatile lower medium SX4 was the sixth highest selling car, and a significant factor in Suzuki finishing the fourth most popular car brand for the month.
After two months, the SX4 was eighth most popular model, outselling the Honda Civic, Mitsubishi Lancer, Honda Jazz and Ford Focus.
Sales of the brand were up 38.3 per cent last year, making Suzuki comfortably the fastest growing new car make of all major distributors in New Zealand.
All of the make’s competitors had single digit growth in 2007 while some rivals lost ground.
Demand for Suzuki cars and commercial vehicles has more than trebled since 2004, with the 2007 sales showing a 234 per cent increase.
Since 2005, when Suzuki sold 2,626 new cars and commercial vehicles in New Zealand, sales have increased by 69.5 per cent over the levels of two years earlier.
“The break through has been Suzuki Motor Corporation’s increased focus on export markets and commitment to produce models that have worldwide appeal,” said Gary Collins, Automobile Sales Manager for Suzuki New Zealand Ltd in Wanganui.
“The main focus of Suzuki was previously the Japanese domestic market but that has changed since 2005 with the introduction of the Swift,” he said.
Suzuki reduced production of its small K-class models such as the Alto and Wagon R for the domestic market to increase output of models for export.
In a sign of confidence, Suzuki is one of the few Japanese motor manufacturers to be expanding production capacity with the building of a new engine plant to come on stream by late 2008.
Collins said Suzuki as a brand had never been so well recognised in New Zealand, and was certainly now being noticed within the motor industry.
“A factor that has helped us is the growth in the New Zealand market of the segments in which we compete. They were up 7.4 per cent compared to an overall market increase of just 2.3 per cent,” he said.
Suzuki has increased its share of the passenger car market from 1.8 per cent in 2004 to 5.5 per cent last year, while the brand is achieving 8 per cent penetration in the market segments in which it competes.
“The market continues to be influenced by high petrol prices and government pressure to purchase clean burning, environmentally friendly vehicles,” said Collins. “And with Suzuki’s focus on compact to medium size vehicles, this market shift places Suzuki in a strong position to continue our growth.”
Swift, which accounted for 55 per cent of Suzuki’s automobile sales in New Zealand last year, continues to lead the small car sales.
Last year the newly introduced SX4 range comprised 20 per cent of Suzuki sales, while the Grand Vitara four-wheel-drive range was ranked third most popular Suzuki model.
Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand, predicts a small increase in the total new motor vehicle market in 2008, from 98,505 to around 105,000 units.
At the same time, he is targeting a 20 per cent climb in sales of the Swift to 3,000 units for the year.
“The new low price XE version is helping boost volumes and allow us to reach our target volume for 2008,” he said.
Suzuki’s conquest sales would be elevated by the recent arrival of a four-door sedan version of the 2-litre SX4.
“Our combined sales of new cars, commercial vehicles and motorcycles exceeded 14,000 units in 2007 and we expect to top 15,000 this year,” said Peck.