Goodnight, Suzuki (Automotive SEO)
With all the election hulabaloo last week, most people didn’t notice the news that American Suzuki will cease selling cars in the U.S. I get bummed out when I see a model discontinued, but when a whole brand decides it can’t keep going, well, that just ruins my day.
Suzuki will not disappear entirely, however – their powersports (ATVs, motorcycles, marine) will stay in the U.S. To be honest, I think that’s what more people think of when they hear the name “Suzuki” over cars and trucks (that, or the Suzuki method of learning to play musical instruments).
I remember in the 90′s seeing plenty of Grand Vitaras out on the road, but in the last decade, I don’t know a single person who bought a Suzuki automobile, and despite being highly favorably reviewed all around the board, the Kizashi sedan has been as rare on the road as Bigfoot. I think I’ve seen just one on actual streets since it debuted a couple years ago. That’s not the sign of healthy sales.
Part of the problem was awareness. Suzuki is the number 4 auto maker in Japan, a country known for (among other things) its auto industry. Nevertheless, searches for Suzuki just couldn’t keep up with searches for the three bigger companies:
My own wife didn’t even know they had a sedan, let alone what it was called. She also didn’t realize they’d been going through a redesign renaissance of sorts in recent years. She only remembered the clunkers from the 90′s that I remember.
I don’t think she’s alone in not ever hearing of the Kizashi. Searches for this nameplate stayed low in comparison to other, longer-standing Suzuki U.S. models:
There was a spike for Kizashi searches in early 2011, when the name had been around a short while and Suzuki was able to build some suspense for a significant upgrade to the Kizashi model to be revealed at the New York Auto Show that year. But the suspense turned out fruitless, and interest waned again. The car with stellar reviews from auto critics, which was supposed to turn around Suzuki’s sales in the U.S., faded into obscurity before it even had a chance to build a reputation.
The Equator pickup truck did even worse than their midsize sedan in searches.
While a lack of advertising may not have been American Suzuki’s only automotive woe, searches tell us that it was certainly a big issue. In the end, Suzuki bows out of selling cars in this country. Goodnight, Kizashi. Goodnight, Grand Vitara. Goodnight SX4 hatchback and Equator pickup.
To make myself feel better today, I’m going to browse their motorcycles and plan out my mid-life crisis.