Q&A: Suzuki

Rod Lopusnak, ATV operations manager for Suzuki talks with about the future

Story by Staff, Dec. 10, 2007 talked with Rod Lopusnak, ATV operations manager for Suzuki, about his company’s new focus on the ATV market and where he sees the industry going in the future.  Suzuki introduced the industry’s first four-wheeled ATV 25 years ago. What was Suzuki’s biggest innovation to mark the anniversary in 2008?

Lopusnak:  I wouldn’t say there has been one innovation, I think what Suzuki has been trying to do in the last few years is give Suzuki dealers an ATV for every one of their customers. I think that finally, coming into 2008, we’ve been able to do that. Before, certain customers might drive past a Suzuki dealer and go to some of our competitors. You’re not seeing that anymore. Why did Suzuki drop the Eiger line in favor of the KingQuad 400 series for 2008?

Lopusnak: We did that previously with our Boulevard motorcycle line. We did it to further expand our marketing and advertising abilities. KingQuad has got a great name, a huge amount of recognition and a strong brand image so we wanted to continue that. Previously there was only one KingQuad so we expanded that so now we actually have three different KingQuad models, four if you include the automatic and manual version of the 400. We took all the great things about the Eiger in that class and we updated all the things we felt it needed to be a KingQuad, along with the styling and similar features. Where do you see Suzuki’s ATV business heading in the future?

Lopusnak: The key for us is we want to continue to build on that same plan to keep finding those niches where maybe we’re missing some sales for our dealers and continue to build on that. Continue to build top of the line, award-winning ATVs and give the dealers additional profit centers. What is the next logical step in ATV production/technology for the industry?

Lopusnak: Safety is always a huge issue and anything we can do to make ATVs safer is going to be there. That’s the unique and great thing that really propelled the growth of ATVs over the last 10 years, because the specialization has been so key. About 10 to 15 years ago there was one ATV and I think the customer specialized it. Now you’re seeing the manufacturer really specialize them, right down to the color. With fuel consumption an ever-growing concern, how does Suzuki plan to improve the fuel economy of its ATVs?

Lopusnak: We will continue to introduce Suzuki fuel injection. At some point it will be on all our models. With land use for recreational ATVs becoming a bigger concern, how do you think ATV sales will be affected?

Lopusnak: You will see more and more the manufacturers fight to try and promote the areas that are open and help groom them to be better. We will work with the government and continue on education so we have the ability to get out there and ride.

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