Time for a bit of lighter news as another renowned automobile and motorcycle manufacturer has hit the century mark. That would be Suzuki and from their humble beginnings as a silk weaving company, they have become one of the leading manufacturers of motorcycles and compact vehicles in the world.
Suzuki was established on March 15, 1920, but they didn't get into cars right away. With a capital of ¥500,000, founder Michio Suzuki formed Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Co. as a manufacturer of looms for weaving silk and cotton. It would be another 17 years until Suzuki would start plans for automobile production in 1937. However, World War 2 would put a halt to his plans and dreams.
After the war, the company experienced difficult times but development work on motorcycles didn't stop. They were able to bounce back in the early '50s with the introduction of the Power Free and Diamond Free motorcycles. In 1954, the company had changed its name to Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd.
The year after, Michio Suzuki's dream to build a car came to fruition with the Suzulight SF, with the SF meaning Suzuki Four-wheeled car. It was a revolutionary car for its era as it was one of the few cars at the time which was front-wheel drive. The Suzulight used a 360cc, two-stroke motor and was one of the world's first kei-cars and the car itself was a hair under three meters long. This would be the start of the company's legacy of building subcompact and city cars.
Moving to the 1960s and Suzuki had introduced the Fronte kei car to replace the Suzulight and the Carry, a name that still exists today. Then in the 1970s, they rolled out the first-generation Jimny and Alto, as well as various iterations of the Fronte.
It was in the '80s where Suzuki truly expanded its product portfolio with the Cultus (known as the Swift in select markets) and Vitara. Fast forward to the '90s, we saw cars such as the Wagon R, Esteem, and iconic Cappuccino. The 2000s brought in a wave of even more models like the Vitara XL-7, APV, Kizashi, and Swift Dzire.
Today, Suzuki has over 20 models in its product portfolio. Locally, we have the Carry, Dzire, Swift, Ciaz, Jimny, Ertiga, and the recently launched XL-7. Last year, Suzuki broke into the top five best-selling brands in the country by shifting 23,919 units nationwide. Worldwide, they rolled out over three million cars, minitrucks, crossovers, and SUVs.
Happy 100th Suzuki, and here's to another century of motoring.