2011: Suzuki doesn't bother

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2011-Suzuki-Hayabusa-1.jpgAfter skipping 2010 entirely, Suzuki’s back with some really exciting
news. Are you sitting down? OK, wait for it…the Hayabusa’s getting
some slightly revised graphics!!!1! Other highlights of a not-so-new
range included tacking a “2011″ to the names of a bunch of already
existing models. Perhaps most worryingly, this is the 50th anniversary
of motorcycle racing for Suzuki and there’s absolutely no mention of
anything bearing the GSX-R monicker. What the hell is going on here?

Update: Suzuki’s responded with an official statement, you’ll find it below.

A statement from Suzuki:
As we all know, this economic downturn has caused many companies to alter their business strategies and make a great number of tough decisions. Many people have their own opinion on how each company should make those decisions and Suzuki always welcomes their opinions. Ultimately though, each company has to stand on its own two feet and make the decisions that they see fit–especially the tough ones.
 
At American Suzuki, we are fortunate enough to be supported by a financially stable company such as SMC, which produced a net profit in both 2008 and 2009 fiscal years during the worst recession we’ve seen since the Great Depression. While many have questioned our decision to import only select 2010 product, we felt it was critical, now more than ever, to support our dealer network and continue to manage production to match the ever-changing market needs.
 
Our latest introduction of 2011 product is actually our third so far and our largest launch of product for the year. And as we have it listed on suzukicycles.com “And that’s just the beginning…” As the summer ends Suzuki will continue to satisfy our customers with further exciting announcements.
 
In regards to racing and our racing heritage…Suzuki is very honored to celebrate our 50th year of international racing this year. And American Suzuki Motor Corp is proud of our product and racers that lead the point standings in many USA racing circuits. Suzuki is honored to give back to USA racing fans by supporting AMA Superbike, Daytona Sportbike, AMA Supercross, AMA Motocross, AMA ATV Motocross, GNCC ATV and GNCC Off-Road.
 
As a matter of fact, we recently produced a limited run of commemorative 50th Anniversary stickers to celebrate our race efforts and numerous championships over the years. The first 50 to mention “Suzuki 50th Anniversary” on our SuzukiScoop facebook page will get a sticker. Thank you for your continued support of Suzuki products.

– Steve Bortolamedi, Sr. Communications Manager MC/ATV Division, American Suzuki

The long and short of it is: Suzuki’s in dire financial trouble. After Suzuki Motor Corporation’s consolidated net income fell 65.8 percent from 2007 to 2008 and then rebounded only 5.4 percent in 2009 the company decided to import no 2010 model year road bikes into the US and laid off the majority of its non-essential employees here, including the entire PR and marketing departments. It wasn’t like there were any new models to import, aside from the introduction of the RM-Z 450, nothing significantly new was released anywhere.

In 2008, Suzuki’s global motorcycle sales fell 23.2 percent year-on-year and, more worryingly, that trend continued in 2009 with global bike sales down a further 42.1 percent compared to the already apocalyptical 2008.

Reports indicate Suzuki has virtually cut-off its factory SBK team, Alstare Suzuki, despite running second place in the championship.

2011-Suzuki-Hayabusa-2.jpgWe suppose the mere presence of models marked “2011″ is a small positive sign, at least indicating that dealer stocks of identical 2008 and 2009 model year bikes have been depleted to the point where new models can be introduced. Still, with no major upgrades, bikes like the 2011 ‘Busa are going to face stiff competition not only from competing brands, but from heavily discounted unsold bikes from previous model years and low-mileage used bikes that buyers who can no longer afford the finance payments are flooding the market with.

  • PatO

    Suzuki pulled a HD!

  • Rob

    Damn, Bro. No 50th anniversary factory turbo busa?

  • PatO

    Sadly, HDs balance sheet is probably looking pretty good to Suzuki right now. Good thing Suzuki has those sweet cars to fall back on during tough times! Oh wait, those suck.

  • Freddy

    That is an ugly motorcycle.

  • dave

    good is that thing ugly. holy sh#t

  • Jordan J.

    Besides (b)old new graphics, what can be done to turn things around at Suzki? It seems like to me Yamaha is pouring in a lot of money for their road racing effort and the two company’s cant be that dissimilar, yet Suzuki sounds to be in bad shape and is withdrawing from the scene. What gives?

    On a personal note, a friend of mine was a manager at local Suzuki shop who also worked as an instructor for STT. Recently, I thought I would go see him one day and the dealership was long gone and had been converted into a custom stereo shop. sigh

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D.

    Looks like spending huge R&D dollars to bump peak horsepower in the GSX-R600 up 1.5 hp @ 15,000 RPMs and drop weight 2 lbs has depleted their rainy day fund. I know the whole industry is in a holding period, but the Big 4 better be looking over their shoulders at Hyosung and the Indian manufacturers…

  • CanOf WhoopAss

    its called a really dumb business model thats whats going on. Suzuki at some point decided to ride out the recession by doing nothing and that is where it will end up – a marginalized player at best.

  • C Mad

    it sad to see a a great moto manufacturer like suzuki in hard times like these… that being said, my buddie just picked up a brand new 2008 sv650 for an ungodly low amount of cash. steal’em while you can!

  • Glenn Hansen

    While new bikes make for great stories on motorcycle websites, they are not essential to the riding experience. Here are the facts: Suzuki GSX-R is the best sportbike lineup available in the world. Racing continues to prove that. Yes, some other makers are introducing new products, and Ducati may have a new cruiser. You can have fun with that news. In the meantime, Suzuki dealers are still selling great bikes.

    - from a non-essential

  • Tim23

    It is no wonder Suzuki is in trouble. They have the absolute worst warranty record in motorcycle manufacturing history. Getting warranty work done on a Suzuki is a nightmare. The Bussa is history now that BMW has the S1000RR on the street. I love the GSXR 1000 and 600 but I would never buy one as I do not want to do the famous Suzuki warranty dance if I ever needed warranty work.

    • Brad Jones

      The S1000RR is not intended to be competition for the Busa (or ZX-14). That is the territory of the K1300… The S1000RR is intended to compete with the GSXR1000, CBR1000RR, R-1, ZX-10, 1098, etc…

  • Shawn

    The Hayabusa was no big surprise. They kept the last version almost the same for close to a decade. Which if you want to know my opinion, I like. Who wants to buy a bike knowing that next year it will already be “that last years version”. Like the damn iPhone. Instead, think of it as an xbox…. sure the color might change… but its the same as last year…. and will be the same as next year. You don’t feel as screwed over when you buy it. Unless ofcourse you bought the 2007 version. LOL.

  • nataku83

    Huh, I guess their cars are as fun as their bikes…

  • http://twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

    But where will the squids flock without the Gixxers? Suzuki, you MUST turn things around!

  • DaFoxx

    In all fairness, most of everyone’s lineups are made up of previous year models with new colors and a new year-code added to the VIN.
    While Suzuki might not have a ton of brand-new-completely-redesigned models (OK, Any…), what percentage of other manufacturers are offering more than 3 or 4 even slightly revised models?

    • General Apathy

      Ummm
      Ducati
      Aprilia
      BMW
      Yamaha
      Kawasaki.. and probably more

      All of those brands have one or more significantly re-designed or new models for 2010-11.

  • dan

    Suzuki put a lot of money into the car side of things recently, with their Kizashi model coming out. Also, manufacturers like Yamaha and Kawasaki have other areas of the business to rely on, Yamaha with their musical instruments and Kawasaki with their Heavy Industries. They’re all hurting.

    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D.

      Actually, Yamaha motors and the Yamaha that makes pianos and guitars are two separate companies now. But they still have other power-sport segments to rely on.

  • http://damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    The new Suzuki cars are actually pretty nice.

    That Hayabusa is decidedly not so nice. I’ve always looked at them like I look at Toyota Solaras, or Chrysler Sebrings…who the hell buys that thing?! It’s hideous!

    • http://twitter.com/beastincarnate Beast Incarnate

      Someone with something to prove. I work with a guy who has a first gen Busa. He admits without hesitation that it’s hideous. But, in his words, it’s so powerful that nothing else can make him happy. He rides a 600 – not enough power. He rides a liter bike (not the BMW) – not enough power. It’s ridiculous.

      Even moreso is this: he wants more pickup down low. However, when I recommended a gearing change, he refused because it would limit his top speed. He needs to “know” that he can go 200mph.

      • pdub

        I don’t think I could roll my eyes any harder at your workmate without needing to go to an optometrist. Same type that if they shoot need a .50AE Desert Eagle (in gold anodize tiger stripe). Unless of course the guy is one of those 350lb land whales that end up daytime TV talk show guests. If that’s the case I take it back and he does need a Busa. The Busa’s cool for what it is, a faired muscle bike, a drag bike platform or even an over the top sport tourer. Unfortunately in it’s inanimate innocence it’s cooler than the airbrushed, chrome plated, show light fantasies of it’s main audience.

  • http://muthalovin.com the_doctor

    I blame Mladin.

    Also, GRAPHIXXXX!!!!@22121

  • Kaz

    So if 2011 are really 2010 model what about reselling price?

    • Sean Smith

      2010 is really 2008 model year.

  • ryouichi

    WAIT! those colors look like what was sold in Japan and Europe as 2010 models? WTF?

  • pauljones

    I have a simple solution for improving Suzuki’s dire financial situation: we all need to go out and buy TU250s.

    Why?

    First off. because they’re fun, inexpensive, they’re stupidly simple. and not a damn one of us in insecure enough to give a damn about what others think of our motorcycles. At least, I hope that’s case. They also have a great deal of aftermarket support; like the Datsun 510, they beg for customization to the point that if you own one that isn’t customized in some way, shape, or fun, you’re doing it wrong.

    Second, it would give us practical transportation and a fun little bike just to tool around town on.

    Third, it would send Suzuki sales through the roof. Granted, these are not high-profit-margin bikes. But sell enough of them, and they’ll make plenty of money to jump start R&D in the rest of the lineup.

    Finally, we all complain about the lack of good, entry level bikes. If the market sees a huge upwsing in the sale of small-displacement bikes like the TU250, other manufacturers will be quick to bring competition to the market, and damn good competition at that.

    Think of the benefits. We could solve the problem of a lack of good small bikes, the problem of Suzuki’s dire financials, the problem of younger generations not having the motivation to work on their own bikes and be truly creative, the lack of affordable cool bikes, the ridiculous stigma attached to small-displacement bikes, the relatively stagnant motorcycle aftermarket, and have a bitchin’ little motorcycle to ride around town on.

    It really is a perfect solution.

    I’m going to go check back into reality now.

    • Jamie

      I rode the Tu250 last night! Ahhh, not so much. Not for me. Its cute and its a good value at the price, but….. Its basically a cool looking scooter. It is very small, and very narrow – not a bad thing necessarily but it feels unsubstantial, and I’m a girl!

      Lots of plastic bits that look like metal in the pictures. I much prefer the Bonneville and I have yet to try the Superlow. If I can find a Moto Guzzi dealer (that does not look like a shaddy importer) I will try the V7.

      The recommended Ural ST has grown on me as well and maybe Ill try one of those when they come out (and I find a dealer).

      Thanks :)

      • PJ

        Hey Jamie, just so you know, the fenders and gas tank on the V7 Guzzi are plastic, as are a load of other parts.

        • Jamie

          Thanks for the info, but that does not make the Tu any more metal. I dont know if I will even be able to find a Guzzi. Not the easiest type of bike to find around me and I don’t want to travel a few hours to a dealer (just to see one).

          I am not totally opposed to plastic but chrome covered plastic is pretty lame (like mirrors). I will probably end up with the Bonneville. It seems to meet my needs the best, it is just looks so cool. ;)

          • Grant Ray

            Jamie, do you mind telling me what the nearest city is for you? I might be able to point you to nearby shops.

            I understand if the TU doesn’t meet your needs, but when you drop what will be a way more expensive ride , I want to hear the unedited version of you cursing yourself for snubbing the cheapie lil’ TU250 as a 1st bike. :)

            • Jamie

              I know, I know. But remember cheap does not equal value. Hopefully I don’t drop it so….

              I live in State College, PA. Philly or Pittsburgh are about equal pains in the but to get to. Pittsburgh would be better because that is where the Triumph dealer I have been working with is (near my parents house).

              Thanks

              • eric

                Jamie, the triumph’s a cool bike, and may well meet your needs, but you should definitely try out the HD superlow before deciding. It’s a very different bike, with a different feel, etc. It also has hydraulic lifters, which never need adjusting; the triumph’s valves need adjusting from time to time, which isn’t super cheap; figure a couple hundred each time. Not a dealbreaker, but something to consider. The triumph also has a chain; HD uses belts, which don’t need greasing, cleaning, and adjusting as often. I hate cleaning my chain; but others don’t mind.

                HD also makes ‘crashbars’ that can be mounted to their bikes, which may reduce tipover damage if you lose your footing at low speed, etc. they can be removed later if you don’t need them anymore. I’m sure you could get something from triumph, too, but I haven’t seen them, personally.

                It’s easier to fine-tune the ergonomics on the HD than the triumph, as there are far more factory and aftermarket options than exist for the triumph. Again, not a dealbreaker, but something to consider.

                At the end of the day, you should buy the bike that ‘moves you’, not the one others tell you to buy. It’s your decision; we’re just trying to help you make it.

            • Jamie

              Also – what do think about the Buell Blast? I can get a slightly used one (300 miles) for around the same price as the TU. It is plastic as well but it doesn’t pretend to be metal.

              • Grant Ray

                Will your local Harley shop play nice if the Blast needs help? I understand you’re in a predicament because you’re pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Did you ride the TU250 down at the Harrisburg shop?

                If you’re doing big commutes to work, like to Harrisburg, then you really might want to consider staying with living brands that you can easily get service for. Buell doesn’t qualify, unfortunately.

      • pauljones

        Yeah, I know what you mean. The TU250 definitely does have a fair deal of cheap plastics, but it’s not nearly as bad as some of the others out there. I still find them to be fun little bikes, though. I have yet to try out a Ural, though I actually have a dealership within a few miles of where I live. Also, if you can find a dealership in your area, Royal Enfields are fun to ride, too.

        Let us know how you’re test ride of the Harley SuperLow goes; I just read a first-ride article about it this morning, but I would like to hear your impressions as well.

        • pauljones

          “You’re” should be “your”. Sorry. It’s been a long day at work.

      • http://www.ebike.gr spirontas

        You’re gonna love the V7, guaranteed!

    • daGeezer

      The real problem with this “solution” is that Suzuki didn’t bring many TU’s into the US. One per dealer, last year, in my area and this year several got none even when they ordered several.

  • sburns2421

    We have been spoiled for a couple of decades with ever-better sportbikes. Each year they weigh a little less, have a bit bigger brakes, a little more power, better quality suspension. The recession has slowed development of new models from all manufacturers and people cry they can’t get their fix of having the latest and greatest for the new model year.

    The thing is, all of the big Suzukis (and other Big 4 sportbikes) are so good when ridden without back-to-back comparisons that ANY street rider would not use all of their capabilities. Any GSXR made in the last 10 years will be an enjoyable toy that offers more performance than 99.9% of riders have skill. If they are not abused they are generally reliable too (friend would redline his GSXR1000 immediately after start, no wonder it smoked at 6,000 miles…)

    Basically, if you are a hardcore Suzuki guy just wait another year, new product almost has to be on its way. For riders who have to have the latest wonderbike right now, go buy the hideous BMW and when the Japanese trump it head back to their dealerhsips. For everyone else that realizes all of these bikes are amazing performance machines as they sit right now, start haggling on a leftover or beat them down on a 2011 model.

  • Jamie

    So Suzuki lost at least 60% of sales since 2008! Holy crap! I guess the kids dont like Sportbikes anymore. ;)

  • Accountant

    This article is outdated and incomplete. If you look at current financials (their website is outdated by a year), you will find more details.

    http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/financials/financials.asp?ticker=7269:JP

    If you perform a cursory ratio analysis, you will notice a few things:

    1) Gross profits on products have been stable around 23%.
    2) One of the big reasons for the lower net income is STABLE RESEARCH EXPENSES. Despite the recession, Suzuki did not cut their R&D.
    3) One-off losses from the sale of investments reduced net income. If you look at their operating margins, it improved by 50% from 2.5% to 3.2%. To put in context, pre-recession operating margins were 4.2%.
    4) The financials at Businessweek are in Japanese Yen. Converted to US dollars, Suzuki only profited $334 million dollars.

    I’m a designated professional accountant, by the way.

    • DoctorNine

      The HD trolls are just getting confused, thinking that the American market is even that important to the Japanese manufacturers. They don’t understand that Suzuki could bag their whole sales here, and still be rolling in loot from markets in Indonesia, India, China, etc. Don’t mind the kids. They see something move and they poke it with a stick.

      • pauljones

        What HD trolls are you talking about?

        How about we not turn this into another dumbass HD/whatever else argument thread. Prior to your comment, the only time HD has been brought up is with respect to Jaime’s bike. Let’s keep it in that context and not let this thread degrade and become another victim of needlessly spouted vitriol.

        • DoctorNine

          Reas the whole thread again. Like the first few comments. You are missing things. And by the way, Suzuki doesn’t have ‘a problem of dire financials’ as you say above. It has a problem of American and European analysts only looking at their local markets and failing to see the big picture. Because let’s face it, Americans are, in general, annoyingly parochial. The only reason that I am even typing this stuff, is that this is the same old ‘news’ misinformation about Suzuki that people have been harping on since the first quarter of 2009. It wasn’t true then, and it isn’t true now.

          • pauljones

            I read them. I’m still not seeing the HD trolls, or anyone else blowing sunshine up HD’s ass.

            I really couldn’t care less what the actual explanation of Suzuki’s financial situation is. As for the TU250, pay attention to things like the switch gear next time you see one, and then compare it to the switch gear on the big Suzuki bikes, as well as the bigger bikes from the likes of Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Harley, Victory, etc. It’s not horrible, it’s definitely functional, but it feels a bit cheaper.

            And for the record, if you weren’t paying attention above, I actually like the little buggers. They’re fun motorcycles.

          • Grant Ray

            DoctorNine, if you click on the link consolidated net income that was provided in the feature, you’ll see that HFL is citing information provided by Suzuki Global in Japan.

  • http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html Randy Singer

    Given that Volkswagen just invested $2.5 Billion into Suzuki, I’m not too worried about Suzuki’s future.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5B80QV20091209

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Randy:

      How does VW buying into Suzuki’s auto business affect the short term prospects of its motorcycle business?

      Accountant: Actually, Businessweek appears to source its numbers from the same source I linked above, my numbers aren’t out of date, they include full-year 2009 results from the end of April, same timing as Businessweek.

      It’s a huge company, they still have money. Nevertheless, their global bike sales were down 42.1 percent year-on-year in 2009! They’ve very clearly halted or massively slowed new bike development as evidenced by the fact that NO new bikes were imported AT ALL for 2010 and the fact that theres NO new models for 2011.

      Sorry, I don’t really understand what you’re trying to dispute here?

    • DoctorNine

      Yeah that investment info is interesting. I have always wondered if that piece of Suzuki they bought, meant that VW really was going to do the GX3, or if they were really just buying small car market share in India and Indonesia, where Suzuki does pretty well.

  • carlos

    Weird though, celebrating 50 years of racing and no extra promotions? I know that down here at Homestead-Miami track days, I’d say 7 out of 10 bikes are Suzuki GSX-R’s. Why not something to promote club racing? Any kind of low end racing? GSX-R racers need that new tech to compete against the newer Duc’s, Aprilias, etc.
    With so many GSX-Rs around at the track, you can crash one lap, and find spares in 10 min. Get back on next session. Every race shop down here carries Suzuki parts, always. Best part about owning a Suzuki. Makes me wish I bought a 750 instead of that damn Zx-636. Damn….

  • Rick D.

    Being an owner of a multi-line dealer for the past 17 years and can honestly tell you it’s a combination of events which has led Suzuki to their current situation. The slumping economy, decline in motorcycle sales and executive management changes. When Mel Harris retired, a lot of things starting to crumble within the company. The new guy in charge has no clue how to run Suzuki. Quite sad to see a good company plummet down hill.

  • http://www.tripleclamp.net Sasha Pave

    I think it’s time for Suzuki to pull a Hail Mary and not sit on it’s ass and re-arrange deck chairs on the Titanic.

    First suggestion would be a retro sport bike. Bring back a GS 1000 Wes Cooly/Schwntz/Yoshimura in blue/white.

    Second suggestion: Hop on the competition dual sport train and make a 50 state RMX. They’d enjoy a first-to-market lead and put a dent in KTM/Husky in a growing market.

    Third suggestion: Adventure-ize the two Stroms and nose-in on BMW’s dominance. A long-travel beefed-up Strom with USD forks, luggage and ABS would undercut the Germans by at least $4k.

  • Accountant

    “Accountant: Actually, Businessweek appears to source its numbers from the same source I linked above, my numbers aren’t out of date, they include full-year 2009 results from the end of April, same timing as Businessweek.”

    Businessweek includes full year financials up to April 2010. The website link you provided only goes to April 2009. A look at 2010 indicates a small but relevant growth and there has been a lot of recovery since the financial crisis of 2008.

    “The long and short of it is: Suzuki’s in dire financial trouble”

    Yes, Suzuki took a big hit during the recession, like everyone else. However, despite the lower business performance, they are hardly in dire financial trouble. Of that 65.8% reduction in consolidated net income that is quoted, half of that loss was from writing down the value of securities held because of the financial crisis – a paper loss that was not related to sales.

    The analysis of Suzuki’s financials was cursory and misleading. I deal with financial statements and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) all the time so I can understand how information is presented in Japanese financial reports.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Click on “Financial results” and the same report Businessweek quotes is the first document available.

      I’m not an accountant, so I’m simply relating the numbers as Suzuki’s reporting them. They’re the ones saying sales are down 41% y-on-y from 2008 and they’re the ones that have halted bike development. How do you interpret that?

  • MTGR

    Suzuki MC division is, relatively speaking, much smaller than Yamahas or any of the other big four actually. In large part, IMO, due to aborted efforts at the merest hint of any serious expenditure. Traditionally they run a very lean ship, so they panic easily at unexpected expense.

    Their one shining star was AMA Superbike where the American Div actually convinced Japan the expense was necessary for a sportbike driven company. And the success there was so great it even freed the reins on the MX division for a while. Unfortunately, DMG made it a point to destroy the Suzuki SBK machine, along with the rest of AMA roadracing, in the quest for “closer racing.”

    As one Suzuki Sr. Mng once told me during a fit of frustration, “we will always be a f****ing triple A team because Suzuki Japan does not know how to think like professionals.” They tend to cut and run at the slightest negative sign then to stick their heads in the sand and try to ride it out. This is no different; it is just on a much bigger scale due to the larger scale of the problem.

    They have managed to weather the storms before, even if their approach has sometimes amounted to ‘jumping over dollars to save nickels.’ But this one is a pretty big storm, hope they make it.

  • DoctorNine

    This year, Suzuki’s car production in India exceeded domestic Japanese production significantly (and for the first time). In fact they are building two new factories there to increase production. This is an article from a couple weeks ago at MarketWatch:

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/suzukis-india-output-to-outstrip-japans-report-2010-06-15

    While US and European car and motorcycle sales are down, the small car and small motorcycle markets in South Asia are still quite reliably producing profits for Suzuki.

    Where is HD building their new factory? India? Russia? China? Are they increasing production in these emerging markets, or merely counting on continued levels of production capacity in mature markets? I think we all know the answer to that question. And yon’t need a degree to tell where that will go.

  • geonerd

    As a matter of fact, we recently produced a limited run of commemorative 50th Anniversary stickers to celebrate our race efforts and numerous championships over the years

    zomg.

  • Max

    As the Europeans continue to pour new motorcycle product into the world market, the American and Japanese conpanies buckle-down and do next to nothing, losing sales and market share along the way to the Europeans. Real bold, guys. Yawn.

    Well, hopefully the other ‘Big 3′ Japanese companies won’t stick their head in the sand this year, and realize that what the European brands are doing – INVESTING NOW – is not only paying off for them, but will even more so a year or two from now.

    HEY SUZUKI (and HD)! BMW released the S1000RR during the worst economic crisis in decades, yet sales are through the roof and their bike is all over magazine covers around the world. Looks like their strategy – which is the exact opposite of yours – is paying off greatly.

    So Suzuki and HD, buckle down and do nothing, and watch your own extinction.

  • Max

    “As a matter of fact, we recently produced a limited run of commemorative 50th Anniversary stickers to celebrate our race efforts and numerous championships over the years. The first 50 to mention “Suzuki 50th Anniversary” on our SuzukiScoop facebook page will get a sticker. Thank you for your continued support of Suzuki products.”

    Oh wait, they HAVE heavily invested in new product for 2011. Forget what I wrote above.

    (Is Suzuki serious with that comment, or should we take that as “we are now selling the office equipment to pay bills.”)

  • DoctorNine

    Cheap plastics on the TU250? Where exactly? I think even the fenders are metal, which is unusual for small Japanese bikes. The hardware is basic low cost stuff of course, and the tail light is a bit too plain for my tastes, but it has less plastic on it than just about any other intro bike out there… Paul, are you paying attention?

  • Johndo

    Hayabusa is one of the uggliest bikes ever made. The Zx-14 achieves the same results and looks way better. They need to come up with new stuff if they want any chance of saving the company, if they risk nothing, theyll get nothing.

  • Ryouichi

    stickers really?………FAIL!!

  • that other guy

    so from what i’m hearing in this HUGE slew of comments, it sounds like their bikes are doing better than the company, irony

  • shinigami

    One marvels at the white Eyeabuser…. er, I mean, Hayabusa.

    I know that to a degree form follows function on this bike… but I had no idea the function involved the lower intestine.

  • Embarrassed Suzi owner

    I’ve owned Suzuki’s on and off my entire life as a rider. I’ve had Gixxers, a RG250 AND the RG500 Gamma, a couple H2s, you get the idea. Last year, I thought “good on ya” for Suzuki being smart to pull back a year so their dealer network could move old product off the floor. I figured, Hey, maybe that way we’ll get some wicked cool bikes in 2011. But what do we get instead?

    HFL points out lagging sales with virtually NO product development, and that’s directly from the Japanese horse’s mouth, and this Steve dude gets all boasty about supporting racing and limited edition anniversary stickers? Seriously, frickin’ STICKERS?!? Wow, bro. That’s all you got?

    And don’t get me started about racing in America. The way I’m hearing, Team Yosh is having to foot the bill for their season. The WHOLE bill.

    It makes me wonder, what kind of monkeys and donkeys do they have running the place at the Suzuki USA animal farm? Cause it ain’t somebody with a brain, that’s for sure.

  • DoctorNine

    Yeah I read that last year. It’s 2009 financials on their site. Current financials would be from 2010. What you have given us isn’t news.

    The fact that they haven’t updated the English language section of their site may mean something, or it may not. Suzuki looks at each market area on its own, so what they are really doing, is leaving North America with just the TU250 (really only a rehash of a very popular cult bike in Japan and East Asia) and allowing inventory to run down, like any other industry would when there is overproduction.

    What I linked you to above, is a report that’s only a couple weeks old about how well Suzuki India is doing. If you want to get a better idea of what the parent company is doing, look at the aggregate of the regional subsidaries. I know they are doing great in India, so if they aren’t in North America, or Europe, it really won’t hurt them that much, because we aren’t that important to their bottom line.

    • Freddie

      I dont think anyone gives a rats ass about the overall health of Suzuki, or that they sell tons of cheap bikes to the third world. What matters for the readers here is the availability of anything worth buying from Suzuki in North America. You know because we live, ride, and buy bikes here, and not India.

      • DoctorNine

        Actually, this site is visited regularly by folks all over the world, Freddie. I myself have lived and ridden in East Asia, and still have friends there, so I care. I also care that Suzuki isn’t only dependent on the European and North American markets, because I like quite a few of their designs. So even if they don’t do well in those places, they will survive quite nicely.

        And still will probably have a few new bikes to show when the economy turns back around. So that does affect you, if you like gixxers, or whatever…

        • Grant Ray

          DoctorNine, sorry for being late in getting back to you. Unless I’m utterly mistaken, I think we’re using different links. The financial summary that shows the 2009 consolidated Financial Results, from which Wes reported as showing a 5.4% increase in 2009 over the abysmal losses in 2008, is shown as current and dated “May 10, 2010.”

          Is that just totally not the case and the document is actually from last year?

          • DoctorNine

            Thank you for the reply, Grant. To answer your question, yeah, the original link in the article above, goes to the old stuff from early 2009. But the new link in your reply is to the correct document, from spring 2010.

            The important data:

            (Japan)
            Sales were ¥1,488.5 billion (81.6% y-o-y) on account of the reduced domestic and export sales. Operating income increased to ¥34.1 billion (118.6% y-o-y) because the reduced operating expenses covered the reduced profits by reduced sales and influence of exchange fluctuations.

            (Europe)
            Sales declined to ¥423.5 billion (68.5% y-o-y) on account of reduced sales in the economic recession and the influence of exchange fluctuations by yen appreciation. However, operating income increased by ¥1.5 billion to ¥4.6 billion because of the reduced operating expenses.

            (North America)
            Sales were ¥128.9 billion (57.1% y-o-y) on account of reduced sales in the economic deterioration and credit crunch started by the financial crisis and the Group posted an operating loss of ¥11.6 billion. However, operating loss decreased by ¥12.5 billion compared to the previous year because of the reduced operating expenses.

            (Asia)
            Sales were 780.6 billion yen (103.7% y-o-y) because the increased number of units sold of automobiles by Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. in India covered the sales decrease in ASEAN and the sales decrease influenced by exchange fluctuations of yen appreciation. Operating income increased to 56.2 billion yen (159.0% y-o-y) by increased profits of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.

            (Other regions)
            Sales were ¥67.4 billion (75.1% y-o-y) because of the sales reduction in Oceania and Central and South America. Operating income decreased to ¥1.2 billion (70.0% y-o-y) because the reduced operating expenses were unable to cover the reduced profits by reduced sales and influence of exchange fluctuations.

            - Forecast of next year
            For the sales outlook of the next year, sales increases are expected in Asia, South and Central America, and Oceania while sales in Japan, the US, and Europe are expected to continue to be low. We will make further efforts for improvement in every aspect as a group and develop business activities to achieve the results exceeding the consolidated results estimates.

            (Forecast of consolidated results)
            Net Sales – ¥2,500.0 billion (up 1.3% y-o-y)
            Operating income – ¥80.0 billion (up 0.8% y-o-y)
            Ordinary income – ¥95.0 billion (up 1.2% y-o-y)
            Net income – ¥30.0 billion (up 3.8% y-o-y)
            For Ex rates – 90 yen/US$, 115 yen/Euro

            What you can see here, is the magnitude of the loss in NA, compared to the gains in Asia, and how they shake out. That’s why they are increasing production in India. I’d also point out, that they are forecasting moderate growth in all consolidated financial measures for the remainder of the year. So they are doing better than many other vehicle manufacturers at the present time, and taking advantage of their position as a global manufacturing concern, by balancing one area against another.

            Thanks again for taking the time to post that. It makes it much easier to see what’s really happening.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          The interesting thing here isn’t just that Suzuki hasn’t introduced new models, it’s that they’re, as far as I can tell, doing nothing.

          Everyone brings up the TU250 as an ideal entry-level bike. But, has it been marketed in the least amount? Has it been advertised? Has the new audience it could cater to been sought out? Have the plethora of customization options been communicated and made available? Not in the least. Nothing has been done to market or promote it and the majority of consumers are unaware of its existence. Many Suzuki dealers won’t even stock it. In a year or two its sales numbers will be dismal and a bunch of flat billers from orange county will trot out the industry gospel: entry level doesn’t sell in america, high margin bikes are the only ones worth pursuing. Sort of a self fulfilling prophecy.

          • Grant Ray

            Well, Suzuki doesn’t seem to be doing anything here. There are signs of considerable growth in emerging markets, though from what I can gather, that growth may be more attributable to Suzuki’s automobile manufacturing. The 2009 Consolidated Financial Results sums up worldwide motorcycle sales as thus: “In the slowdown of the world economy, domestic and overseas sales were reduced, and sales of the motorcycle business were ¥262.9 billion (57.9% y-o-y), also influenced by exchange fluctuations by yen appreciation. As for profit, the Group posted an operating loss of ¥21.1 billion because the reduced operating expenses were unable to cover the reduced profits by reduced sales and influence of exchange fluctuations.”

            Also, looking deeper into the financial report, it gets really interesting when Suzuki breaks down sales by region and then makes forecasts concerning next year’s sales. I won’t be surprised if Suzuki shifts focus away from Japan, Europe and North America to concentrate on strengthening and developing Asia, Oceania and Central and South America.

            Oh wait, what was that? The TU250 here in the States, is that what you’re asking about? You say your dealers in your area aren’t carrying it, or they’ve already sold the one TU250 they ordered and they aren’t planning on getting any more for the rest of the year? Hmm, sorry about that. Maybe give a call to a Suzuki dealer in Mexico City, or Bogota?

          • DoctorNine

            Yeah, I have never understood the Suzuki thing with lack of advertising. I think they may be afraid of not understanding their market well enough to target it, since they tend not to research it, and just let the bikes do the talking. They are probably feeling a bit gun-shy after the GM/Suzuki car thing too, and generally pulling back from NA as a whole. I dunno. They have me stymied. Because the TU250 could get a heck of a lot of high school kids going on bikes, if they pushed it like Honda did back in the day.

    • pauljones

      You’re right, we aren’t that important to their bottom line. And that’s the problem. That’s why Suzuki bikes this year get a bunch of great, upgraded stickers. Suzuki North America is in financial trouble, regardless of the health of other Suzuki subsidiaries or the company as a whole, and that’s the focus of the article. As Freddie points out, North American riders tend to care more about news that happens in North America, hence the focus on Suzuki North America’s predicament. It may be myopic, but there is a certain logic to it.

      To us in North America, the health of Suzuki India or Suzuki Europe means nothing. We care about the health of Suzuki North America, as that is who sells us Suzuki motorcycles. If Suzuki NA is in bad shape, it has other potential consequences that impact us far more than the actions of Suzuki India.

      • DoctorNine

        Suzuki North America isn’t ‘in financial trouble’, as you say. They merely are riding out the economic downturn by not sending in new product, as any manufacturer in a market with excess inventory on the shelves would do. If you look at how they do things, they will analyze where they think a capital expense will get a reasonable return, and place their bets on that product. As others have noted, they make smaller bets, and are perfectly willing to sit out a few rounds at the table while larger players take the big risks. Whether or not we see new product here, Suzuki isn’t in any trouble. That’s the point. So if they feel that the TU250 is the bet that they want to make now, then they have their reasons. Frankly, I don’t think anyone should be spending the huge amounts of money needed to fractionally improve the performance of the sportbike section of the market, considering demographics. And everyone who has been spoiled over the last 2-3 decades with new and more powerful machines every year, needs to get a handle on how and why that is unlikely to continue. What we are seeing, is a transition in the whole marketplace. Suzuki is no more or less affected by this than any other sportbike producer. They just have a smaller bet on the table right now. So they actually have less to lose than some others.

  • Zippy

    Well, they did change all the names of the cruisers to cubic inches (M109,C90) oooh, maybe someone will think they are Harleys and actually buy one!!

  • alex

    The absolutely ridiculous part is the .gov gave me like a 1500 dollar tax credit for buying my 600rr last year and I heard nothing about it from any dealer, free money you morons.

    Traffic and gas get worse every year here in CA and yet I’m still waiting for one of them to realize that saving money and driving in the carpool lane powered a whole crap load of prius sales – whats could be more green take up less parking space without sacrificing your balls for a shoe box.

    Then all they’d need is a commercials with a bunch of famous cougars trying to hook up with sport bike riders and you’d have a solid win.

  • insomnia

    One thing that I am surprised the collective genius here seems to have missed: Suzuki sportbikes sell, in the main, to young men and women with limited credit. Not the pipe-smoking, 780 Beacon BMW rider. When the credit market collapsed, all those buyers left the market. As someone who was sitting in a Suzuki dealership when that occurred I can assure you it was swift and horrible. Once I had sold all the Hayabusas to Harley owners with testosterone disorders there wasn’t much left. Suzuki lacks the depth on the consumer finance side that many of their competitors have, like say, American Honda, or um, Harley Davidson.

    • DoctorNine

      Excellent points. A major sea change is happening.

  • Zippy

    I stopped in one the the 9 new HD shops within a 1 1/2 drive from my front door. Place was packed (Sunday afternoon) Folks, buying, looking and just hanging out. A band was setting up in the parking lot.

    If the 2010 Roadkings were not completely sold out for the year I might have pulled the trigger!

    Both local Suzi shops are long gone, might be 1 left in Daytona.

  • Zippy

    Nobody really takes thier cruisers seriously. And face it, that is where the money, growth and sales are.

    Old guys who ride slow (relative to sportbikes) V twins have credit, buy bikes based on loyalty and looks and spend lots on chrome and upgrades.

    We rides lots of miles, and prefer classic styling. Honda, Star (Yamaha), Kawasaki, Triumph all understand this. As does of course the MotorCo.

    Suzi, give us a reason to visit your showrooms.

  • skidmore gitlowe

    Now’s the time for refinements.
    Remember the japanese saga of the 70′s & 80′s?
    Powerful motors which begot better brakes, then suspension which begat better frames?
    Time for a new pagadigm. What I really need is a 550 in a 1100 frame. More than 60hp is just vaporized rubber.

  • Zippy

    If they are betting the future of Suzuki NA on th TU (or should I say P.U.) 250 start digging the grave now.

    USA has never been about small starter bikes.

    • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D.

      That’s an easy conclusion to jump to, but it reminds me that the Big 3 US automakers spouted that same line during the first gas crunch, and the most recent $4/gal debacle. This line got repeated over and over again, all while their sales plummeted through the floor, and had to be bailed out by the US gov’t. They never noticed the huge sales success of the Honda Fit, the Mini, the Prius…hell, the original Civic and Corolla became the top-selling vehicles of their day because Americans DO want small cars, just not the ones GM and Chrysler were offering!

      If large manufacturers keep sitting on their hands telling themselves the NA market doesn’t want small bikes, the Koreans or Chinese will be more than happy to step in for them! I for one welcome our new East Asian overlords!

      • HootieWho

        I think it would be more likely from Europe than Asia.

        Americans dont want cheap little bikes. They want cool, stylish, fun, and cheap little bikes.

        Something the Asian brands USED TO DO now the Euros are having a much better go at it.

        • pauljones

          I can’t think of many good, small Euro bikes. At least, none that are sold in the US. The existing Bonneville, Monsters, etc. may be smaller than than most other bikes, but I still consider 700ccs to be a middleweight bike (remember when 1300 twins were big bikes?).

          • HammSammich

            “(remember when 1300 twins were big bikes?)”

            Ha! I was just thinking about that the other day, after a buddy of mine sort of scoffed at my interest in a Triumph Sprint ST because of it’s “small” 1050cc engine. I remember thinking how utterly massive my dad’s 1100cc Goldwing seemed as a kid, and it’s hard to understand how we’ve come to the point where 865cc Bonneville’s with 65hp, are now considered “entry level” bikes.

            • pauljones

              Seriously! My uncle has owned every generation of Goldwing. He bought a new one last year, but the only other one he keeps around is a second-gen, as that was the bike he rode when he got married. The difference between the two bikes is incredible. Second-gen Goldwings are still big ass bikes, and yet the current models make them look small and nimble by comparison.

    • daGeezer

      You must be a kid. The 60s and 70s were all about starter bikes. The Honda Hawk, CL125-360s, Yamaha’s DT series of DP bikes, Suzuki was only about “starter bikes” until the mid-70s. The kids who started on those bikes are Boomers and about to head into wheelchairs, now. This is the time for starter bikes. The scooter manufacturers are all into that and campuses are packed with 50-250cc scooters. The TU is perfect for that and for almost any commuter application. Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha, and Kawasaki have totally abandoned anything resembling marketing skills and they will end up looking like 1970′s US car manufacturers when it’s all over.

  • Zippy

    What will they do, capture 1/2 of %1 of a shrinking market.

    We buy bikes, for fun, stlye and based on emotion. We buy the bikes we want, not need. BMW, Triumph, Harley and Victory are all showing sales growth in these tough times.

    Aint no 2 fiddys on the sales floor.

    • HootieWho

      Growth? Ah Not all you mentioned. Profit, Yes.

      I am pretty sure Triumph is growing, not sure about BMW.

      Harley is not growing. Sales are down across the board. They grew their market share in the US and Europe; however, that is more a testimonial to how bad the industry is doing. HD is just not doing as bad as everyone else (with some exceptions). Dont confuse HD 2nd qtr profits with growth,

      Victory sales are horrible; however Polaris is doing quite well so it masks how bad Victory does. If Victory was in fact growing they would not be offering $5k off of last years leftovers. Polaris is making a go of Victory but it is an anchor on their business.

  • powermatic

    As a matter of fact, we recently produced a limited run of commemorative 50th Anniversary stickers to celebrate our race efforts and numerous championships over the years. The first 50 to mention “Suzuki 50th Anniversary” on our SuzukiScoop facebook page will get a sticker.

    Well, we now know one thing-’Steve Bortolamedi, Sr. Communications Manager MC/ATV Division, American Suzuki’ either has a great sense of humor, or absolutely zero sense of irony.

  • Zippy

    I toured on a 750 for years before someone told me it was to small to ride! That motor got me out of trouble wuite a few times, and into trouble once or twice.

    Now I am thinking of upgrading my 1700 to a 1900 or 2K!!

    I wish Suzuki well, but as a dedicated cruiser rider, there is really no reason to consider them.

    All the companies I mentioned are indeed introducing new models, styles and financing and getting aggressive in thier advertising.

  • Mark

    “Our product line blows but we have a cool 50th Sticker” LOL

  • K2theM

    The market is saturated. You can only sell so many new bikes before their used (and perfectly fine) counterparts start competing. I know not everyone is comfortable buying a used bike, but when you can get a bike that is 2-3 years old and half the price of a new model; why buy new?

    As for marketing “entry” level bikes. The last time I can think of that happening was when Honda Motorcycles invaded the US. The market has segmented itself into All Out Street-Riders and Bad Ass Crusiers. (oh the DS guys are there too, but they tend to be smart and not follow the Media…)

  • http://thepacepodcast.com chris

    Jamie, Martin Eurosports in Coopersburg has what you want. They’re pretty far East, but I know they have it. I have a Breva 1100 and love it. The Guzzi has a certain something… I used to ride CBRs and FJRs and Harleys… the Guzzi has more “mystique” than the Harleys did and is pure joy to ride. Food for thought.