LOS ANGELES -- American Suzuki has withdrawn from next month’s Los Angeles auto show and will again skip the Detroit auto show in January.
Suzuki had planned to appear at the Los Angeles auto show but decided “very recently” to forego the event, said Jeff Holland, spokesman for American Suzuki. Suzuki last appeared at the Detroit show in 2008, Holland said. Suzuki did participate in the Los Angeles show last year.
“For the upcoming season, our brand will selectively participate at auto shows where our distinctive and engaging story will resonate the most,” Holland said in an e-mail.
Suzuki’s decision is part of a strategy to focus its tight marketing budget on 20 U.S. markets in which the brand has its highest concentration of dealers and market share. Los Angeles and Detroit are not among those 20 markets. In fact, Suzuki sold just 430 new vehicles in California in the first nine months of the year, according to Experian Automotive vehicle registration data, published by the California New Car Dealers Association.
The brand also is hamstrung by the profit-killing strength of the Japanese yen against the dollar. With the exception of the Equator pickup, Suzuki’s vehicles are made in Japan, leaving it unable to mitigate foreign exchange rates with a production base in the United States.
Holland also said American Suzuki’s marketing budgets have been reduced for the last few years because of the economic downturn.
“We’ve got more of a conservative approach going forward,” he said.
Suzuki sold more than 100,000 vehicles in the United States in 2007. In 2010, U.S. sales totaled 23,994 units.
Suzuki sold 20,284 vehicles in the first nine months of 2011, a 20 percent increase from the same period last year.