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Suzuki, other Japanese companies might be recession casualities

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Old 12-29-2008, 08:10 PM
Chuck Chuck is offline
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Suzuki, other Japanese companies might be recession casualities

Suzuki could be history

http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/Suzuki_1_2_L_-_60_mpg.jpg
Leo Lewis – Times – Dec. 30, 2008

For those that think we dwell only on Big Three woes, read this -- Ed.

Japan’s mighty automotive industry, which comprises at least ten big manufacturers, could soon be reduced to a Detroit-style Big Three.

According to Osamu Suzuki, president of Suzuki Motors, there is no truth to the idea that Japanese carmakers enjoy any immunity to the crisis affecting the industry worldwide and the downturn that has pushed General Motors, Chrysler and Ford to the brink of oblivion will also shake their Japanese counterparts.

The turmoil, he said, would lead Japan into a period of consolidation that is viewed by many investors as long overdue. The tally of ten large carmakers, including Mazda, Fuji Heavy [Subaru], Mitsubishi Motors and Isuzu, could quickly be reduced in the stampede for cost-cutting and survival… [Read More]
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:36 PM
chibougamoo chibougamoo is offline
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Re: Suzuki, other Japanese companies might be recession casualities

And this report on the Japanese-3rd-tier car-makers' woes doesn't even touch on the pain in suspended investments and sales of small specialty North America manufacturers for things like the Tesla or NEV's (like the ZENN).

Ditto things like the GEM (Chrysler LLB's NEV) that depends on sunshine state consumers who will also presumably be cutting back on their big-ticket-item purchases.

The only guys who are booming are the car-repair and maintenance places, where some local shops are booking "appointments" for routine things like brake service, as much as 3 weeks in advance.

Strange times ...
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Old 12-30-2008, 01:32 AM
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Re: Suzuki, other Japanese companies might be recession casualities

History repeating itself...
Today's Audi - owned by VW - is an evolution of Auto Union.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto_Union
"Auto Union was an amalgamation of four German automobile manufacturers, established in 1932 ...during the Great Depression."

It doesn't always work, as illustrated by British Motor Corporation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Motor_Corporation
In the case of BMC, there were too many different vehicle lines, design philosophies, unique parts and architectures, and nobody willing to work together to make a coherent lineup out of what was there.

If any of the domestic automakers attempt a similar mush-together, the end of the story may be closer to BMC than AutoUnion.

If the Japanese automakers merge, do they get to hyphenate their names as Daimler-Chrysler did? Or VW-Audi? It could make for some rather long names, like Mitsubishi-Subaru-Suzuki. The successful pronunciation of such a name could actually be used as a field sobriety test.
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:14 AM
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Nevyn Nevyn is offline
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Re: Suzuki, other Japanese companies might be recession casualities

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Originally Posted by MaxxMPG View Post
If the Japanese automakers merge, do they get to hyphenate their names as Daimler-Chrysler did? Or VW-Audi? It could make for some rather long names, like Mitsubishi-Subaru-Suzuki. The successful pronunciation of such a name could actually be used as a field sobriety test.
Anyone want to buy a Mitsubazuki?
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:19 AM
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mdensch@charter.net mdensch@charter.net is offline
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Re: Suzuki, other Japanese companies might be recession casualities

MaxxMPG raises an interesting historical perspective. One reason BMC is gone now, though, is that British cars tended to be junk. American cars during their worst periods couldn't begin to approach the abysmal level of cheap British crap. Britain's premium brands are still there, but the rest of their market is dominated by Ford, the Germans and certain Japanese makes.

I think there may be a little blood-letting among the Japanese manufacturers and some of the fringe brands such as Suzuki and Isuzu might go away but I doubt that major mergers are in the offing. What would be gained? They would just run the risk of becoming huge, inefficient behemoths like GM.

Similarly, I don't think much would be gained by mergers of American manufacturers. There are only three of them and even in our current turmoil, the U.S. market is very large one. They do need to strip themselves of excess capacity, streamline bloated brand/model line-ups and reduce their labor costs, however, and that will be a painful process. Ford gets it, GM not so much. Chrysler has a valuable brand with Jeep but needs to reinvent itself in the wake of the Daimler debacle. If it can't find a new image of itself, it will go away
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:02 PM
HappilyUnstable HappilyUnstable is offline
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Re: Suzuki, other Japanese companies might be recession casualities

I thought GM owned a good portion of Suzuki, similar to Ford and Mazda?

I doubt Suzuki will die altogether though, their motorcycle line is huge worldwide.
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:10 PM
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Re: Suzuki, other Japanese companies might be recession casualities

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I thought GM owned a good portion of Suzuki, similar to Ford and Mazda?

I doubt Suzuki will die altogether though, their motorcycle line is huge worldwide.
GM sold their share in Suzuki, although the XL7 continues to be a rebodied Theta crossover (Equinox/Torrent/Terrain/Vue). And a couple of the Suzuki cars are sourced by GMDAT (Daewoo). The part ownership of Isuzu (which gave us the Ascender and the Isuzu-Colorado) is gone, too. GM also sold its share in Fuji, so no more Saabarus (the 9-2x was a Subaru Outback Sport with an Ikea makeover). Toyota now owns part of Fuji and there is a new Toyota coupe coming that will be Impreza-based.

Ford is selling (or has sold) most of its share in Mazda to raise cash.

I think the cash crunch of these smaller companies has been compounded by the sudden sell off of shares by GM and Ford.
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