After close to 30 years of sustained automotive sales in the continental U.S., American Suzuki Motor Corp. has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will stop marketing and selling cars in the U.S. In an announcement Monday, Suzuki stated "all warranties will continue to be fully honored, and automobile parts and service will be provided to consumers without interruption through ASMC’s parts and service dealer network."
Of course, this means the end for the modest-selling Suzuki Equator, the midsize pickup truck clone to Nissan's Frontier built in Smyrna, Tenn. On average, the Equator had been selling less than 150 units per month this year.
ASMC will continue to sell and support Suzuki's ATV, motorcycle and marine products in the U.S., but according to Automotive News, the company will be working with the remaining U.S. dealerships (about 220 of them) to help wind down new-vehicle sales dealerships and transition them to a parts-and-service-only operation.
Suzuki's idea of offering a pickup truck for its own motorcycle enthusiasts made sense to many when the Equator debuted at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, but the pickup never quite established its own identity. We last tested the Equator in our 2012 Midsize Shootout, finishing just behind, by one point, the Honda Ridgeline for a midpack finish.
At a time when many other automakers are seeing strong signs of recovery after the significant sales slump of the last several years, Suzuki has considerably lagged, selling just under 27,000 units in this last year. You can bet other struggling Japanese automakers like Mitsubishi and Mazda (neither of which offer a pickup truck anymore) will need to be careful about their next moves in the U.S. market.
To read the full press release, click here.