Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sayonara Suzuki

Amidst all the noise in this election cycle, you may have missed this news:

First question, how many of you actually knew Suzuki sold cars, pickups and SUVs here?

Okay, so now on to the real meat of the matter.

In the New York Times, Suzuki blamed its failure on:
“The high costs associated with growing and maintaining an automotive distribution system in the continental United States,” as well as “the disproportionately high” costs associated with meeting increasingly stringent state and federal regulatory requirements.
Granted the federal, state and local laws surrounding the distribution and sales of automobiles are antiquated and make little sense given current technology. If this were the real problem, however, how were other low cost automobile companies like Hyundai and Kia able to succeed?

The reason Suzuki Automobiles failed in America is the company built cookie cutter products and failed to articulate a point of difference with its communications.

If you're going to crack into an established, competitive category, you have to be exceptional along at least one relevant dimension. You have to be famous for something.

Toyota succeeded in America because they focused on quality.

Honda gained a foothold in the U.S. because of their position of simplicity.

Hyundai has seen explosive growth thanks to the exceptional styling that adds value to their low price position.

Suzuki never stood for anything. Because of that the company is packing up and driving off into the sunset, and nobody will miss them.

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