If you own a car made by Suzuki, the resale value just took a hit. That’s because Suzuki has decided to stop selling cars in the United States.
This isn’t going to come as a shock to most people. They probably would have been more surprised to find out that Suzuki sold any cars in the US at all. That’s because the Japanese car company wasn’t selling very many. So far this year it has only sold about 21,000 cars. Worse yet, its sales were down while most car makers were seeing US sales rise.
The reality is that Suzuki’s have never had much market share or consumer awareness here. The only time they got much publicity was when Consumer Reports declared the Suzuki Samurai was a safety risk because it could roll over during severe turns. Suzuki sued for $60 million, but eventually settled when Consumer Reports issued a statement saying it “has never questioned the safety of any other Suzuki model it has tested. It has praised the Suzuki Sidekick and recommended the Suzuki Vitara/XL7.” Basically the two sides agreed to disagree. By then, however, the damage was done.
Of course closing shop isn’t easy when you have nearly 250 dealerships nationwide (even if they were only selling about five cars a month). It started by process by declaring bankruptcy. Now it’s trying to borrow $45 million to pay off dealers and avoid lawsuits. The company says it plans to continue selling motorcycles and marine engines.
So how does this affect the value of the Suzuki in your garage? Well first, there are still about 4,000 unsold Suzukis sitting on dealer lots. They will all be sold, but only after some big price cuts. When the top end of the market drops, so does the rest. Suzuki claims it’s going to continue to honor warranties, but anyone considering a Suzuki will have doubts and that will further drive down prices. And then there are potential parts problems. When Daewoo went under in the US back in 2002 some owners couldn’t get the parts they needed to fix their cars that were still under warranty (although Daewoo never sold well and dealers didn’t have much in the way of parts inventory). Fortunately, Suzuki will still sells cars in other countries so the parts supply shouldn’t dry up completely.
Bottom line is that the uncertainty of it all just stripped dollars out of your wallet. You might be able to dump it quickly on some unsuspecting soul (may your soul rot forever), but it’s more likely that your best option is simply to hang on and drive the car until it drops or can no longer be repaired.