The History of Suzuki Motor Corporation
Updated September 2, 2018
The Suzuki Motor Corporation was founded due to a new venture started by Suzuki Loom Works. Suzuki Loom Works was founded in 1909 by Michio Suzuki. The company would build weaving looms for the silk industry and would produce weaving machines that would be exported overseas. By 1920 the company would become incorporated as the Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Company. The company would receive much success from its designs and would begin to diversify itself starting with the production of small vehicles. In 1937 Suzuki would start building prototype vehicles for the company and within 48 months would have first vehicles ready for production. During the World War II Suzuki’s auto manufacturing would cease due to the Japanese government as the factories would need to be used for wartime efforts. During the years of the Second World War some of Suzuki’s factories and offices would be heavily damaged due to bombardment. In the wake of the war Suzuki would go back to manufacturing its looms. Due to importation of cotton, Suzuki would capitalize off of the market until it collapsed in 1951. With the market and importation of cotton falling as well as labor difficulties would cause Suzuki to make drastic decisions in order to save the company from bankruptcy.
In 1952 Suzuki would enter the motor vehicle field once again with its 36cc two-stroke motorized bicycle known as the Power Free. The motorized bicycle was simple in design and allowed the operator to either pedal under their own power or be assisted by the engine or disengage the pedals completely to allow the engine to be the sole production of power. This design would be well received by the public and government which would allow a subsidy for the Suzuki Company to assist the company in continuing the engineering and production on motorized-bikes and motorcycles which would lead to the start of the Suzuki Motor Corporation in 1954.
In 1955 Suzuki would produce what would become the popular Colleda 125cc 2-cycle sales nearing 7000 total motorcycles sold per month and later on in the year Suzuki would introduce its Suzulight minivehicle which would run off of a 360cc two-stroke engine. By 1961 Suzuki Motors Corporation and Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Co. would separate in order to form their own individual divisions. In the same year Suzuki would also complete its Toyokawa factory which would specialize in the lightweight trucks with its first production vehicle being the Suzulight Carry which had a semi-cabover design placing the 360cc engine underneath the cabin.
In 1963 Suzuki would establish the U.S. Suzuki Motor Corp. with its headquarters located in Los Angeles, California. In 1965 Suzuki would enter into the outboard marine engine manufacturing with its first model D55 which would be at two-cycle outboard rated a 5.5 hp. And later in the year Suzuki would introduce the Fronte 800 which would be a subcompact passenger vehicle running a three-cylinder 785cc two-stroke engine.
In 1967 Suzuki Motor Corp. would build its first assembly plant outside of Japan would be located in Thailand. Following a year later Suzuki would introduce the Carry Van 360 which was based off of the Suzulight Carry. With Suzuki purchasing the Hope Motor Company, this would and should use the first Suzuki branded four-wheel-drive vehicle, and in April of 1970 Suzuki would introduce the Jimny 360cc 4×4 vehicle. In 1973 Suzuki would introduce Suzuki Canada Ltd. in Ontario, Canada as well as making introduction into the medical equip field with the company’s first motorized wheelchair the Z600. Suzuki would also introduce its first prefabricated houses as well as storage sheds placing the company into the housing field. In 1980 Suzuki would introduce its now iconic GSX line of motorcycles starting with four different variants with multiple sized engines for the series. It was during this year that Suzuki would also introduce its first generators. In 1981 General Motors would purchase a 5.3% stake with the Suzuki Motor Corporation. It was during the 80s that Suzuki would continue to expand its international presence as it would introduce vehicles to countries such as India, China, Germany, Spain, and France.
Suzuki would also establish its motor division subsidiary for the American market under the name of Suzuki of America Automotive Corp.
Throughout the 1990’s Suzuki you continue to expand internationally. The company would also strengthen its business by forming alliances companies such as General Motors. General Motors was been by in for a 10% stake in the company. Suzuki would also receive approval to start production for passenger vehicles from the Chinese government. In 1999 Suzuki would introduce its iconic GSX 1300R Hayabusa which withhold records for the fastest production motorcycle with a top speed of hundred 188 miles per hour which would then be raised to 194 miles per hour.
From 2000 to 2010 Suzuki would begin production in Argentina and would reach a cumulative mark of 30 million vehicles sold worldwide. The company would also work to boost its sales in the United States by offering 100,000 mile/7- year powertrain warranty which would be an industry best. In the years to come General Motors would sell off its shares of Suzuki and in 2010 Volkswagen AG would purchase 19.9% of Suzuki’s shares.
Over the years Suzuki had worked with auto manufacturing companies such as General Motors, Fiat, Subaru, Mazda, Nissan, Volkswagen, and Mitsubishi. Today Suzuki Motor Corporation is a multinational corp. with its headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan. The company is ranked 9th largest auto manufacturer by production volume. And employees nearly 55,000 individuals through its the five main production facilities and 133 distributors.