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American Suzuki renews commitment to marine division

An American Suzuki Motor Corp. executive says the company's marine division, which makes outboard engines, was profitable even during the Great Recession.

That’s why it’s one of two — motorcycles/ATV is the other — where the company said it plans to strive for long-term growth in a realignment that calls for American Suzuki to wind down and discontinue new-car sales in the continental United States.

California-based American Suzuki filed Monday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana, Calif.

“If you’re a Suzuki powersports dealer and you’re doing the things you’re supposed to be doing, then you have no concern at all with this news,” American Suzuki sales and marketing senior director Larry Vandiver told Powersports Business.

“Actually, it’s a really good move for our company in powersports. I’ll probably get blamed for it all because when I started with the company, this is what we really were — we were a motorcycle, ATV and marine company. What will happen over the course of business is all the focus, all the emphasis, from our factory to [Brea, Calif.], will be all about motorcycle, ATV and marine, and how to improve that business, come up with innovative new products and how to take that business forward.”

American Suzuki said in a statement that poor U.S. auto sales, high costs, regulatory requirements and unfavorable foreign exchange rates contributed to the decision to wind down its automotive business.

The company said it remains firmly committed to its motorcycles, ATVs and marine products “and these divisions are competitively positioned in their respective markets, allowing for long-term growth as economic conditions improve. The realignment is intended to better position ASMC for long-term success.”

American Suzuki said the reorganization plan it will file with the bankruptcy court will specify how the motorcycles/ATV and marine divisions will be maintained and enhanced and how the company’s relationship with car dealers will be largely transitioned to support consumers and dealers through parts and service operations.

American Suzuki debuted five new 4-stroke marine outboards in June at a press event in the Florida Keys — the DF15A, DF20A, DF115A, DF140A and DF250AP. The "A" in each model name identifies the engine as a second-generation product. The 250AP is also a second-generation engine and will be offered with selective rotation, which allows the engine to have counter-rotation capability.

The 15A and 20A were available during the summer and the remaining three engines were to hit the market in late fall. The DF20A/DF15A received an honorable mention in the engine category in this year’s IBEX Innovation Awards.

Click here for the full report from Powersports Business.

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