LAS VEGAS -- Suzuki dealers need a refreshed product lineup and consistent supplies if they are to hit the automaker's goals of increasing sales in the United States by 20 percent in 2012, dealers were told during their make meeting.
Nearly a third of Suzuki's approximately 250 dealerships in the United States sold zero vehicles in December, said James Morrell, chairman of the Suzuki Dealer Advisory Board and owner of Advantage Suzuki in Albany, N.Y.
Dealers said they were happy to see the automaker spend for a Super Bowl commercial this year, taking it as a sign that Suzuki is committed to staying in the United States and looking to broaden its appeal in the market.
Suzuki is continuing to recover its production and distribution after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March, regional executives told dealers.
"They gave us a product plan going out five or seven years, with a realignment of their field force to give dealers more help where they need it," said Morrell, whose store's sales were up 42 percent in 2011.
The brand's dealers are largely concentrated in the Northeastern United States with a few points being added in the Pacific Northwest, Morrell said.
"The meeting went pretty well, better than it's been in several years," said Joe McCloskey, owner of McCloskey Suzuki in Colorado Springs, Colo. He said his store's new-car sales were up 20 percent in 2011 and would have been higher if he had had access to additional inventory.
McCloskey said: "What dealers are asking for is more product because we're selling out."