American Suzuki Motor Corp. plans a certified used-vehicle program for 2004, Gary Anderson, the company's vice president of automotive sales, told dealers at its make meeting.
Tim Bush, vice chairman of the Suzuki national dealer council, said dealers are excited about the program. "It gives us another avenue to make a profit," said Bush, who owns Richland Suzuki in Richland, Wash.
Anderson said the company does not have a certified program because of its limited volume. It expects to sell 80,000 new vehicles in 2003, up from 67,855 in 2002. Anderson said the program will help the company manage its off-lease and fleet used-vehicle inventories. About 10 percent to 15 percent of Suzuki's retail sales are leases, he said.
Tom Carney, the company's marketing director, is in charge of the program. He said Suzuki has not gotten into certified because it did not have the volume. "It has got to make sense for dealers to sell 15 or 20 used Suzukis a month as well as 30 new," Carney said. "There just weren't enough units in operation."
Said Anderson: "Couple that with dealer profitability. Over 30 percent of our dealers are in exclusive sales facilities, and that is growing every month. Those dealers need the support to build their business."
Anderson said the company's program will feature a 128-point inspection and the vehicles will carry a 7-year/100,000-mile warranty. The company is benchmarking Honda's, Toyota's and General Motors' certified programs because those companies have the experience and the volume, Anderson said.
Carney said Suzuki has several initiatives to help dealers with customer satisfaction. He said the company is working on a program to reward dealers financially for good customer service ratings.