For once, what happens in Las Vegas is not supposed to stay in Vegas, as Suzuki hosted dealers and media at the Hard Rock for Suzuki’s “2015 North American Tour.” Just 547 days after declaring bankruptcy, Suzuki is back and hitting the road with some of its greatest hits – along with introducing a couple key new members of the band. Dealers were given what they have been asking for in the 2015 line-up, including the return of the DRZ-70 just in time for Christmas, and treated to a brand new naked bike that is actually an early release 2016 model.
Forget the past, Suzuki is a new company, says Suzuki Motor of America President Tak Hayasaki. This message seemed to strike a chord with dealers at “The Joint” in the Hard Rock. Less than two years after bankruptcy, Suzuki Motor of America is back on the fast track according to Hayasaki.
Part of the team that brought the Hayabusa and GSX-R1000 series to market, Tak-san knows a thing or two about speed, however it is his candor and dealing with the crisis that really resonated. “Our industry has faced some serious challenges and we’ve had to make some tough decisions over the past few years. During these difficult times I know you all wanted and deserved more out of Suzuki … and I agree.”
He added that while 2013 was one of the toughest years Suzuki has had, the company is back in the black. “I’m happy to announce that after just one year Suzuki Motor America is back to being profitable.”
Cars are also out of the equation moving forward. “Our new company is focused on motorcycles, scooters, ATVs and the marine business. But that is not all, Suzuki Japan’s sales have increased for the past two years as well.” Being profitable makes the return to MotoGP racing in 2015 possible as well. To commemorate the return to racing, the GSX-R line gets a MotoGP livery option for the coming year.
“There is no better place to start a party than at the Hard Rock,” adds Tak. So the wraps came off four all-new motorcycles, highlighted by the new naked GSX-S750 and up-spec GSX-S750Z. A viral video of the naked bikes broke a couple weeks before the dealer meeting, so Suzuki decided to offer something the dealers definitely had not seen: the 2016 GSX-S1000!
Also scheduled for GSX-S1000 ABS and
GSX-S1000F ABS variants, customers will not be seeing these bikes in the flesh until the middle of next year, but it did make for an intriguing sneak peek. The growing Adventure touring segment was treated to the release of the V-Strom 650 XT ABS while the entry level riders get a fully faired GW250F.
King Quads are now 100% assembled in the U.S. and the 2015s are headed by the King Quad 750 AXi and 400 ASi/FSi, which are more fuel efficient and more affordable than years past as Suzuki has reduced retail prices on four ATV models and nine motorcycles. “We have rolled back pricing and are rocking 95 percent of the product line-up,” explains VP Rod Lopusnak as a preface to Suzuki’s marketshare for the various segments.
“Suzuki is synonymous with the term ‘Dual-Sport’ going back to the original DRs, so we are happy to say we have 18 percent of the total dual-purpose share. Entry level bikes are the fastest growing part of the dual-sport segment, specifically bikes in the 200cc-250cc range, so Suzuki has rolled out the DR 200S as the most affordable dual-sport model on the market.
The strategy outlined by Tak Hayasaki seems to be working. Suzuki is proud of the fact that they are outpacing the market in several key categories. In the 600cc sportbike market, Suzuki is up 20 percent and in the 501cc–650cc segment they are up 21 percent, where the rest of the market was down nine percent.
In the big bore 1301cc and above segment, led by the Hayabusa and big Boulevard models, Suzuki sales are up 22 percent where the rest of the industry was down approximately four percent.
Looks like Suzuki is set to rock and roll for 2015-2016. “Let’s get this party started,” concluded Lopusnak.
Be sure to check out additional photos in our “enhanced” online version.
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