Despite its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and subsequent plans to exit the United States market, Suzuki's sales were up 22 percent last month. The reason? Big discounts from an automaker already noted for its bargain-basement deals.
Suzuki, which openly courted subprime buyers before and during the recession, is offering rebates of between $500 and $2,000 on its remaining 2012 and 2013 inventory. In addition, zero percent financing for up to six years is available. Current Suzuki owners qualify for a further $500 to $1,000 in rebates, depending on what they choose to buy.
Other behind-the-scenes rebates have long been applied to Suzuki cars and trucks and those factory-to-dealer spiffs are likely to continue until the estimated 4,500 remaining Suzukis are emptied from dealership lots.
Those rebates are a lot smaller than the ones Saab was levying on its vehicles after it announced it was shuttering its operations, although Suzuki's departure is a bit different. Not only were the leftover Saabs more expensive in the first place, the automaker was shutting down globally, while Suzuki plans to keep many of its dealers around as parts and service depots.
Suzuki plans to keep selling its more profitable ATVs, motorcycles and marine engines, but it is buying out all of its car dealers.