OKYO -- Suzuki Motor Corp. is twice bitten, now shy, about automotive alliances, pledging to go it alone in an increasingly globalized industry in which scale is more important than ever.
After its separation from General Motors and messy divorce from Volkswagen AG, Suzuki may have little choice. Future partners may be equally wary of the Japanese company's track record.
With the company's small global footprint and r&d budget, Suzuki's bid to remain independent will be a test of whether small players can stay that way in an age of consolidation.
"The VW debacle has put the spotlight on Suzuki and shown that Suzuki, and Mr. Suzuki in particular, is not the easiest partner to work with," said Ashvin Chotai, managing director of Intelligence Automotive Asia. "Its progress in alliances will depend on whether there will be significant cultural change" at the Japanese automaker.
Chairman Osamu Suzuki was clearly relieved to be out from under VW's thumb when arbitrators late last month ordered VW to sell the 19.9 percent stake it has held in Suzuki since 2009.
At an Aug. 30 news conference, he said it felt like a little bone had just been cleared from his throat. Safeguarding independence, he added, would be a precondition for future tie-ups. As for the possibility of reconciling with past partners, he minced no words: "Would you remarry someone you have divorced?"