Suzuki's annus horribilis


The redesigned Boulevard M50 for 2010 apparently wasn’t enough to get sales jumping.

The financial numbers are in for Suzuki’s 2010 third quarter, and they aren’t pretty.

Suzuki sold around 35,000 motorcycles in North America in the period from April to December 2010 from approximately 65,000 during the same period in 2009. That’s a 45 per cent drop.

Europe fared better, but the numbers were still in decline – they bought approximately 64,000 Suzuki bikes across the pond during that nine-month period last year, down from 83,000 over the same April-December period in 2009, resulting in a 23.3 per cent drop in sales.

In Asia, numbers weren’t quite as bad, but still aren’t looking up. Japanese sales dropped 3 per cent, from around 62,000 sales to 60,000, and the rest of Asia, where motorcycle sales are booming, still saw a 9.1 per cent drop in sales, from about 1,809,000 bikes sold to 1,644,000. Sales in Central and South America also dropped, from 140,000 to 122,000 units.

Suzuki did have one bright spot, though; sales boomed in Africa, where they sold 104,000 bikes in the last nine months of 2010, up from 37,000 in 2009 – an amazing 281 per cent gain. And, while their Asian numbers saw a drop over all, their sales in motorcycle-hungry India grew to 197,000 from 124,000 bikes, a 158 per cent increase. In fact, the only reason Asian sales declined was due to a drop from 1,155,000 cycles in China to only 848,000 in 2010.


  1. I own a 2009 Suzuki Boulevard C50T and had 6000 km on
    last summer before an unfortunate accident bent the frame.
    I was so impressed with it , I bought a 2nd one for this
    season. Suzuki may not be the largest motorcycle co. but
    for my money they got it right with this bike. Its powerful
    and comfortable. After a 20yr hiatus from riding a real
    revelation in owning my first cruiser was the attention
    it draws wherever I go, I live in Calgary so for it to
    attract interest is understandably unusual.

  2. The DL650 is an outstanding(ly ugly) bike. I love mine and won’t part with it no matter how it looks. Their C50 used to be a great value, but they’ve priced it way into the stratosphere, and there a million used clean examples to be had for 1/2 MSRP or less. The Gixxers just aren’t that exciting and new… more of the same. The M90 / 109 is a cool looking bike, but you really can’t compete in the US with US brands, unless the price point is right. They don’t stand a chance unless they start to look at what they are doing right (such as the V-stroms).

  3. I couldn’t agree more…the V-Strom DL650 is the ideal bike for lots of people (me included), but to paraphrase one review I read…it was beat with the ugly stick – alot – then pushed down the ugly stairs to make sure it stuck…but man, what a bike…it has the power and handling to be sporty, is comfortable enough and has hard cases available to make it a tourer and is light enough and has the suspension to be used off road…it’s even efficient enough to be used as a commuter…

    So yah, a face lift would do wonders for their sales…


  4. Suzuki has need of newer designs that are nicer looking. If they took the DL650 v-strom and did what Ducati did with the Multistrada as in taking a great bike and making it look 10X better they would sell a ton of them.


  5. Sad to say, but I think the era of volume Cruiser sales is over. Those who want Cruisers seem to prefer the Big V-Twins … Harley & Victory pretty much have exactly what these buyers are looking for … Suzuki will never compete in the Cruiser segment.
    That said, the future likely lies in the smaller to mid-displacement Sport and Standard segments … which is why it’s also sad to see that ‘Zuki has priced the TU250X out of the league of their North Am. competition … namely the CBR250R and the Ninja 250R. There are LOTS of Bikes from the Big-4 Japanese manufacturers that are available in Europe and Asia that aren’t over here … we NEED some of those!!

  6. They have let the model range get long in the tooth…the GS500F (which is a great little bike) is in need of an update…trying to sell 25yo tech in a pretty wrapper (I know it is coming, but waited a little long!)…the GSX650F is a nice stepping stone, but the next step up is GSX1250FA…there is a step missing in between…900-1000cc anyone?…and why don’t we get the naked versions of these bikes?…same problem with the cruisers…M50 is a nice sized bike @ 805cc, but the next step up is M90? 805cc to 1462cc? They are missing the mid steps…then there is the Gladius, great little bike…that’s the problem @ 5’11 I’m not that tall, but the Gladius feels pretty small to me…why not make a bigger one with an engine based off the SV1000 which is still used in the DL1000 (V-strom)? And that is another line of bikes that needs an update…

    I guess what I am saying is, they are missing the right sized bikes and are slow to update design and styling…They offer a good range of supersports, but that’s not my interest…


  7. Have you seen what Suzuki is charging for the TU250X? Suzuki is out of touch price-wise on the bikes that are potentially high sellers.

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