BUSINESS

Suzuki Canada Halts Car Sales

03/26/2013 03:39 EDT | Updated 03/26/2013 03:44 EDT
AP
The new Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is shown during the press day at the 83rd Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. The Motor Show will open its gates to the public from 7th to 17th March presenting more than 260 exhibitors and more than 130 world and European premieres. (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini)

Suzuki Canada announced Tuesday it will stop selling cars in Canada.

The news comes four months after American Suzuki Motor Corp. declared bankruptcy, throwing into doubt the future of the Japanese automaker’s North American operations.

The company has been “monitoring market conditions carefully and, after reviewing the long-term viability of automotive production for Canada, [head office] concluded that it was no longer feasible for it to produce automobiles for distribution and sale in the Canadian market,” Suzuki Canada said in a statement.

Those market conditions have been pretty abysmal. Year-to-date sales for 2013 are down 30 per cent so far, according to data from DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

In February, Suzuki’s car sales were down 44 per cent from the same month a year earlier, at 256, compared to 457 in February, 2012.

That gives the company a 0.3-per-cent market share for car sales in Canada, behind only Porsche and Jaguar.

So the 2014 model year will be the last one available for sale in Canada, but Suzuki will continue to sell motorcycles, ATVs and other recreational vehicles here, spokesman Bill Porter said.

He said the company will continue to honour warrants on the cars it has sold, and will maintain “service facilities” across the country for Suzuki customers.

Porter said the company sells about 10,000 recreational vehicles in Canada annually.

The new strategy is similar to the one the U.S. division is following, where American Suzuki plans to focus on motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and marine outboard engines as it works to come out of bankruptcy protection.

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