Even in a challenging economy, American Suzuki Motor Corp. officials could be excused for being optimistic about 2008 in wake of what is believed to be a record number of new products coming to the United States.
That new product started arriving in dealerships in late October and will continue to be brought to U.S. showrooms through the last weeks of 2007 and into the new year.
“That’s what it’s about for us — a lot of new product for 2008,” said Glenn Hansen, communications manager for American Suzuki’s motorcycle and ATV division.
Besides the new product, Hansen said Suzuki is in good shape in regards to dealer inventory, noting it remains consistent with last year despite the industry as a whole being down more than 8 percent in new unit sales through the first three quarters.
“We think we’re in a good spot,” he said.
Dealers started ordering new product — the company unveiled 14 new or significantly updated models this year — at the manufacturer’s June national dealer meeting. Such meetings have occurred before in June, but aren’t the norm. In fact, Hansen expects Suzuki’s dealer meeting to return to the fall in 2008, timing that is based primarily around manufacturing availability.
Although Suzuki is planning more new products to be announced in 2008, it’s not expected to be quite the number that was unveiled in June. This year’s earlier dealer meeting allowed Suzuki to get some of its new models into showrooms for the fourth quarter, including the new Hayabusa, the world’s fastest mass-produced motorcycle.
While Hansen said Suzuki already has seen some results from the new Hayabusa, the company’s all-new model, the B-King, was expected to appear in showrooms during the second week of November. The naked bike, which will be available in limited numbers, features the Hayabusa’s power plant, all 1344ccs of it.
But the new product isn’t limited to the sport bike sector, where Suzuki leads in many of that segment’s annual sales categories. Suzuki, the No. 1 Japanese retailer of motorcycles of 250cc and larger, also has new offerings in the motocross and cruiser segments.
The former, which features input from racer Ricky Carmichael, is scheduled to be in showrooms in February. Suzuki also recently released the MSRP ($7,199) on the RM-Z450, which is the first motocross model to feature fuel injection.
“We’re looking forward to really getting this new product into our dealers as soon as we can,” Hansen said, “and obviously watching the
economy and hope for the best on that.”
— Neil Pascale
Copyright 2007 Powersports Business