American Suzuki Motor Corporation is reorganizing its independent business units into a single entity.

The Japanese company announced July 14 that it will consolidate its automotive, motorcycle/ATV and marine units as well as its corporate operations in a move to optimize its operations in the United States. American Suzuki says the changes are all internal and will not affect individual dealers that supported the separate divisions.

Kinji Saito has been appointed president of the newly consolidated company and will oversee the operations, sales and marketing of American Suzuki.

“American Suzuki believes it is very important to make changes and respond to the evolving needs of American consumers,” says Saito. “It is ideal for all of our divisions to work more closely together, plan together and communicate as a single company, rather than as separate business units.”

Kinji Saito will oversee operations, sales and marketing of American Suzuki.Kinji Saito will oversee operations, sales and marketing of American Suzuki.

Saito most recently served as deputy executive general manager of global marketing for Suzuki Motor Corporation in Japan. Previously, Saito has been director of sales and marketing for Suzuki in India, where his contributions helped the company gain more than 50 percent of the passenger car market.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to help lead Suzuki’s efforts in the United States,” says Saito. “American buying habits are changing and Suzuki is very well positioned for success in the U.S. thanks to our diversity of outstanding products, including many which we plan to launch very soon. I look forward to working closely with my colleagues and fellow employees in continuing to make Suzuki a great success in the United States.”

The previous presidents of the individual divisions, Mark Harano of Automotive Operations, Masaaki Kato of Motorcycle, ATV and Marine Operations and Motoo Murakami of Corporate Operations, will continue to oversee the their respective operations as executive vice presidents under Saito. Rick Suzuki, chairman of American Suzuki will become its board advisor.

“This reorganization reflects our strong commitment to the United States marketplace,” says Saito. “And we are very optimistic about the many opportunities that our new corporate structure will provide in promoting collaboration, leveraging our innovative brand spirit across all products, supporting our dealers, and continually improving Suzuki’s entire product lineup in the United States.”

According to Suzuki’s annual financial report, North American sales generated US$3.9 billion in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008, an 11.7% decrease from the preceding year. Motorcycle and ATV production dipped 8.2% to 20,000 units and the company forecasts a 1% drop in production for the current fiscal year. American Suzuki’s automobile production rose 23.3% to 28,000 units in the last fiscal year but the company predicts a 34.9% drop to 18,000 units by March 2009.



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