July 2, 2007 – Suzuki slated to unveil loyalty club

American Suzuki Motor Corp. unveiled a long sought-after program that it hopes will provide a better bond between dealer and consumer.
The program, scheduled to be previewed at the company’s national dealer meeting in Las Vegas, is a loyalty club for Suzuki motorcycle, scooter and ATV buyers that offers insurance discounts, roadside assistance and other benefits.
“We know we need to give our customers even more benefits,” said Glenn Hansen, American Suzuki Motor Corp.’s communications manager. “Obviously we have a lot of fans of products already and they buy the bikes because they think they’re great. If we can enhance that ownership by giving them yet another benefit, perfect.”
The Team Suzuki Owners Club, which in many ways mirrors other manufacturers’ loyalty clubs, is something Suzuki has been seeking to start for quite some time, Hansen said.
“We think it’s going to be a pretty popular opportunity for our diehard fans, the GSX-R buyers,” he said, noting the new club also will provide the company a way “to enhance the Boulevard name a little bit and reach out to those people.”
The owners club, available to motorcycle, scooter and ATV buyers, will offer the following benefits to consumers:

  • Roadside assistance. Suzuki is working with Road America, a U.S. subsidiary of the MAPFRE Group, the largest insurance group in Spain, according to the company’s Web site. Road America currently provides roadside assistance to Harley-Davidson, Ford, GM, Toyota and other major manufacturers’ consumers.
  • Insurance discounts. Suzuki is partnering with GEICO to provide discounts of up to 10-15 percent. The actual discounts will vary depending on different state insurance commission regulations.
  • Hospitality. Suzuki will provide hospitality areas at large racing venues. “We’ll have a members-only area set up at these events so (club members) can park their motorcycle for free, check their gear in with us for free and we’ll have drinks and snacks for them,” Hansen said.
  • Increased corporate communication. Club members will receive six magazines per year from Suzuki, as well as have exclusive access to a password-protected Web site.
    Consumers will get free access to these benefits when they buy a 2007 Suzuki motorcycle, scooter or ATV. Although the company is launching the program this summer, consumers who previously bought a 2007 model also will get free access. The no-cost element lasts one year. Consumers would then pay roughly $25-$30 a year to remain in the owners club. Hansen noted that Suzuki is pricing its annual fee below other manufacturer clubs that are often in the $40-$50 range.
    Before launching the owners club, Suzuki spent a year researching motorcycle and ATV owners, including those currently in clubs and those who are not.
    “What we found is if (consumers) get the inside communications from the factory, then it’s worth the nominal annual fee,” Hansen said.
    To draw consumers into the owners club, Suzuki is trying to make the program more useful for off-road riders. Part of that entails extending the roadside assistance program to any vehicle carrying or towing a Suzuki motorcycle or ATV. That could mean a consumer towing their Suzuki ATVs behind a Ford truck could get their pickup’s flat tire fixed under the roadside assistance plan.
    “It’s clear to see there are benefits for motorcycle owners, but we want the dealer to know there are benefits for them, too, by having them create more of a bond with the customer,” Hansen said.
    Suzuki will be providing dealers point-of-purchase material and in-store displays for the Team Suzuki Owners Club. Although Hansen did not believe there would be a separate ad campaign to promote the new club, he does believe it will be incorporated into the company’s national advertising. psb

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