They have announced the 2011 ATV models already, but nothing yet on street-legal 2011 models. Usually they tease us with at least one new model in June, but nothing this year. Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) does a separate report for the big four Japanese brands, and the numbers do not look good. In the last 12 months Suzuki has shown a 54% decrease in motorcycle sales in North America, and that is compared to 2009, which showed the worst sales drop in history. Suzuki dealers report that 61% of their current inventory is unsold 2009 units, by far the highest percentage of non-current-year inventory in the industry.
So I would not hold my breath waiting for 2011s anytime soon.
In North America, Suzuki is basically selling 1/5 as many bikes as they did in 2007, and 1/4 as many as they did in 2008. Without new 2010 or 2011 models, dealerships are struggling to move inventory, and the drop in sales continues to accelerate, dropping 20%, 50%, and 54% in the last three years respectively.
The only good news is that the Suzuki corporate balance sheet actually looks OK. By shutting off production of motorcycles for periods throughout late 2009 and 2010, they have cut production costs considerably on the motorcycle side of the house. Motorcycle sales in India, Asia, and Africa are not bad, and Europe is recovering.
Suzuki, is, after all, a car company, with something like 80% of their sales coming from small cars. These cars continue to sell well in India (they are the number one brand of autos in India), Japan (where they outsell Toyota and Honda in small cars), and Indonesia, so Suzuki Motors Corporation as a whole managed to avoid the massive losses Yamaha and Kawasaki Motors suffered last year.
So while motorcycle operations in North America continue to show tremendous losses, a drop in market share, and total sales that track like a cow dropped out of a helicopter, the company as a whole is OK.
Thank you, Dr. Bob, while I love my M50 and it fits me prefectly and same for my wife with her S50. I have concerns whether there will be a dealer to service the bikes in the future. We are pretty much a Suzuki family in addition a Grand Vitaro and a Chevy Metro (really a Swift). So the health of the company means a lot to me.
The overwhelming majority of Suzuki motorycle dealers are multi-brands, selling one or more Yamaha, Kawasaki, or Honda lines as well, thus spreading the risks and getting floor assistance from multiple companies. They would not save much by dropping just the Suzuki line, as they would still need a building, sales people, a parts department, service, etc for the other brands. So while the floor space percentage given over to Suzuki motorcycles may shrink, I don't think very many will decide to terminate their Suzuki dealership agreements- as long as they can stay open, they will continue to sell all the brands. If they close, then it does not really matter which of the big metric brands you own.
Yeah, 2011 models on the website is a good sign that they at least plan on sending them to North America sometime soon. With no dealer show this year or last, it is hard to get info straight from the horses mouth right now.
Suzuki's year to date numbers are out, and they look good overall but look bad here in North America. Overall the company showed a 13.7% increase in net sales, thanks to a 17.7% increase in car sales and a 5.5% increase in boat and outboard motor sales.
The motorcycle segment showed a whopping 47% increases in sales in India, and strong sales increases across Asia. But motorcycle sales in Europe continue to be weak, and sales in the US and Canada continue to plummet, dragging down total worldwide motorcycle sales by almost 14%, so the motorcycle division still lost a bundle of money. But despite the black hole of North American motorcycle operations, Suzuki as a whole managed to turn a profit, and if you exclude the North American motorcycle market the company is doing quite well.
I asked the Suzuki dealer a few weeks ago if there were even going to be 2011 models or if it was going to be another year skipped. They didn't seem to know so the fact that some are showing up on the website is at least a little encouraging.
There is precious little on the website though: the only 2011 cruisers mentioned are the M109r and the S40, the two models that are not heavily in inventory right now, the first because they sell pretty well and the other because dealers don't usually stock them. Looks like the M109r will only come in blue for the regular and black w/ orange stripe for the limited, and the only change is the gauge cluster- they moved it from the handlebars to the cowl and added a gear indicator. Hardly anything to get excited about. The S40 now comes in a choice of two two-tone paint schemes instead of the traditional solid colors- not much exciting there either, especially in a model that sells in inconsequential numbers.
Conspicuously absent is the ‘new’ M50, which does not appear in the 2011 or 2010 listings, due to the glut of unsold 2009s still in dealer inventory. This is the closest thing Suzuki has to a new cruiser model in the last couple years (even if it is now just a C50 with a few cosmetic changes), so it would be nice to see them hit the showrooms…but apparently this will be no time soon.
But as you said, at least it is a little bit encouraging.
In the sport bikes I only see the Hayabusa so far for 2011, a strange choice it seems to me, but for some reason there must be demand.
I've never seen a M50 at my dealer. I know a guy who bought one but he had to ask. They had one in a crate but never put it out on the showroom floor because there was little demand for them around here. I'd like to see the new M50's though because I kind of like it, not that I'd ever buy one. Doubt if I'll see one at the local dealer for a long time.
It is very rare to see an M50 in a dealership around here either. My buddy owns a Suzuki dealership, and a couple years back he was sellling 15-20 C50s a month, and maybe 1 M50 every 2-3 months. Now that times are tight he definately has no desire to have a slow selling model taking up floorspace and cash.