TOKYO -- As it expands its U.S. product lineup, Suzuki Motor Corp. also wants to add dealerships.
It plans to expand the number of U.S. dealerships to 600 in 2007. It started this year with 543 U.S. stores.
"Our biggest theme is how we can make our dealers profitable," says Hirotaka Ono, senior general manager of Suzuki's America and Europe marketing division.
Suzuki also plans to limit fleet sales to 8,000, or 8 percent, of 100,000 planned this year.
"This is not a target but a definite order," Ono says.
In 2002, fleet sales accounted for more than 30 percent of Suzuki's U.S. sales, he says. High fleet sales can erode dealership profits by boosting supply, and thus reducing prices, of used vehicles.
Suzuki's sales goal for 2007 is 200,000. It sold 42,014 in the first half of 2005.
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