Small Wonder: 2018 Suzuki Jimny driven

Here’s something unexpected to kick things off: Suzuki UK simply cannot secure enough of the new Jimny from Japan to satisfy demand. We are not talking by small margins here either; at the last count it had 10,000 expressions of interest for its diddy off-roader, which is approximately six times more cars than it is able to supply on an annual basis.

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The End of the Small Automaker?


What if there were no more small automakers?

The automotive world continues to consolidate, and large automakers either push the smaller ones out of the market or swallow them up as part of an expanding empire.

It’s not too hard to imagine a world without small car companies, because they don’t have much of a presence in the United States. Suzuki left the market, Mitsubishi is a small player, and Subaru is only popular in cold climates. A few supercar manufacturers and startups exist to serve a tiny niche, but most of us are never influenced by their success or failure.

Recent news from the Toyota and Nissan camps demonstrates that carmaker consolidation shows no signs of slowing down.

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It Finally Happened: Suzuki Dies in America

Suzuki Kizashi

We kind of knew it was coming, but still the news arrives as something of a shock: American Suzuki has filed for bankruptcy and will cease selling vehicles in the U.S. as part of its restructuring plan. When current inventories are gone, new Suzukis will vanish from U.S. shores.

That means no more Grand Vitara, no more SX4, no hope for the cool little crossover that would have replaced the SX4 and no more Kizashi.

If you’ve been eyeing a Suzuki, act now for a new one or watch the CarGurus used listings for older models. American Suzuki will still exist in the U.S., but selling new cars won’t be part of its business plan.

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Cars Coming Soon: 2013 Ford Fiesta, New Suzuki SX4

2013 Ford Fiesta

If you’re going to drive a small car, drive one with some attitude.

Yeah, something like the Toyota Yaris will get you to Starbucks and back, but no one will turn their head and wonder what you’re driving as you order your triple mocha breve.

For that, you need something with a little more personality. Two small cars on the way could be the answer, as they’ll offer fuel economy and dependability to go with head-turning style.

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If Suzuki Died in America, Would Anyone Notice?

Suzuki Kizashi

When Hummer left this world, there was much applause.

During Pontiac’s slow death, there was much reminiscing and sadness.

During Saab’s (continuing) downfall, there was much protest.

If Suzuki goes down, will there be much… of anything at all?

No doubt about it, Suzuki makes a fine automobile. They are dependable, affordable, and lately, even stylish and sporty. Unfortunately, most of the vehicles it offers in the U.S. are outdated and blown away by the competition. The Kizashi is the lone star right now, a fine entry in the midsize sedan market. The SX4 and Grand Vitara, though, are in desperate need of a refresh.

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Three Suzuki Concept Cars, One That Should Be Built

Suzuki Regina Concept

If there’s an auto show known for fostering quirky concepts, it’s the Tokyo Motor Show. Japan’s own Suzuki showed off three concepts that just wouldn’t be at home anywhere else.

We haven’t discussed Suzuki much recently, and a lot has been happening as the company tries to make a name for itself outside the umbrella of Volkswagen. Two years ago, the companies formed a partnership with the intent of sharing technologies. To make a long story short, Suzuki doesn’t feel it’s getting the benefit it was promised and wants out. According to Bloomberg,

Each company has accused the other of breaching the cooperation agreement, which was meant to supply Suzuki with technology and provide VW with access to the Indian car market. The carmakers have been at odds since VW described Suzuki as an “associate” in its 2010 annual report. Suzuki said on Nov. 18 it had terminated the partnership with the Wolfsburg, Germany- based automaker, which failed to yield a single joint project.

An arbitration process has started, which could take two years to complete. On top of that, Suzuki’s November sales in the U.S. are down 22 percent from last year. Though it offers two solid, well-reviewed cars (the SX4 and Kizashi), Suzuki suffers here from too few dealers and stiff competition.

Two of the concepts in Tokyo probably wouldn’t do much to turn things around here. One might have a chance, if it were to ever enter production.

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Five Car Brands Better Off Dead

Have you ever taken the time to flick through a list of every car brand that has ever graced the planet?

To put it simply: There have been a *lot*. Wikipedia has a list broken down by country, with automakers from Angola to Uruguay, past to present. The U.S. alone has its own dedicated page of hundreds of current and former automakers.

There have been so many that only a small percentage exist today. Which of course begs the question: When we look back 50 years from now, which auto brands will exist only as entries in an online encyclopedia? We’ve already witnessed the demise in the last two years of more brands than kicked the bucket in the previous 30.

And I think there are a few more that would be better off dead or at least yanked from U.S. market.

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