Struggling Suzuki is shrinking in many ways.
Insiders say the company is slashing marketing while sales and the dealer roster dwindle.
The many signs of trouble:
-- In a market up 13 percent through March, Suzuki was down 2 percent to just 6,561 sales.
-- The brand skipped the Detroit and Los Angeles auto shows this year and suspended social media activity on Twitter and Facebook two months ago.
-- Steve Younan, the top U.S. product planning and marketing executive, left in January and will not be replaced. No national TV commercials have aired since 2009.
-- In January, Suzuki stopped getting customer satisfaction data from J.D. Power and Associates -- data that help track dealer performance. A memo obtained by Automotive News says another vendor will replace Power, but sources say no successor has surfaced.
-- The dealer body continues to shrink. The brand shed 32 franchises last year, nearly 12 percent of its total. The number of U.S. Suzuki franchises has dropped every year since 2005.
The company's strategy has become "very much focused on short-term profitability," says one source familiar with the company's recent cost-cutting moves who spoke on condition of anonymity. "They're limiting their future in the U.S."
Nobody at American Suzuki wants to talk about the troubles and the strategy for battling them. But Suzuki's hard-pressed dealers are feeling the pain.
"At one point I really thought they were going to support it, but it was kind of like a downward spiral -- no sales, no money, no advertising," says former dealer Bill Kay, who dropped his Suzuki franchise last summer even though he had a vacant Chrysler dealership in suburban Chicago available for Suzuki.