Suzuki sees European rebound image

The Japanese automaker, widely known for its small vehicles and off-road models, counts on new models to reverse the flagging sales in the deeply affected region.

Suzuki will launch a new model every year for the next three years to increase annual vehicle sales in its European markets by about 100,000 units to 300,000 by 2016. The Japanese automaker is struggling to reverse falling European volume and has not posted a profit in the region since 2008.

“We will work hard to reach the target of 300,000 cars a year by 2016 and to strengthen our sales activities,” said Executive Vice President Toshihiro Suzuki.

New models such as the SX4 S-Cross compact crossover and a production version of the iV-4 subcompact concept that was unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show in September will help the automaker, as last year, Suzuki’s sales in its 35 European markets, which include Russia and Turkey, fell by 13 % to 202,000.

Toshihiro Suzuki expects the automaker’s 2013 European sales to match last year’s performance despite a slow start this year because of a lack of fresh product. The automaker’s best-seller in Europe is the Swift with sales of 40,649 in first nine months, according to JATO Dynamics.

The SX4 S-Cross, which is a rival to crossovers such as the Nissan Qashqai, joins the automaker’s mainstream products that have front-wheel-drive versions while the production iV-4 will have standard four-wheel drive and will target Suzuki’s traditionally strong customer base of off-road enthusiasts.

Suzuki hopes the production iV-4’s off-road capabilities will attract buyers in a segment that has become increasingly crowded since models such as the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka, Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 went on sale.

Via Automotive News Europe