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Records shatter in 2021 for one of South Africa’s fastest-growing car brands

  • All-time highest sales and market share for Suzuki
  • Suzuki Motorcycles set new sales benchmark in the hypersport -segment
  • Suzuki Marine top-selling outboard brand with over 50% market share

An impressive sales figure achieved in a traditionally quiet month has capped an overall fantastic year for Suzuki, the Japanese automotive and lifestyle giant.

Suzuki Auto South Africa sold 2 102 new vehicles in December for a passenger vehicle market share of 8,18%. This means Suzuki delivered 27 583 new Suzuki models to customers in 2021, the highest on record.

En route to its new all-time sales record for a full year, Suzuki Auto reported five new dealer sales records and four overall monthly market share records. Indeed, since September 2021 nearly one in every ten passenger vehicles sold was a Suzuki.

The brand also set new sales and market share records in its Suzuki Marine division, while Suzuki Motorcycles dominated the hyperbike segment in 2021 with the Hayabusa selling previously unheard-of numbers in the fourth quarter.

Suzuki takes almost 9% of passenger vehicle market

Naamsa, the automotive business council, reported that the total passenger vehicle market improved by 23.3% over the lockdown-restricted market of 2020. Of this, Suzuki accounted for an average of 8.8% of all passenger vehicle sales and almost 6% of the total vehicle market.

Naamsa’s sales statistics reveal that Suzuki reached an average market share of 9.41% in the last quarter, which points to further growth and the potential to reach even greater heights in 2022.

Says Henno Havenga, Manager of Auto Dealer Sales at Suzuki Auto South Africa: “The past year was filled with many challenges that troubled all vehicle manufacturers. These includes significant delays at our main ports, a shortage of vehicles and further lockdown restrictions.

“Despite this, the entire team at Suzuki worked extremely hard to source as many vehicles as possible, to design the right product line-up to meet the needs of customers in the current economic climate and to support our dealer network.”

2021 – A year of records

Suzuki Auto and its automotive dealer network set more records than ever before in 2021.

The first new record was set in February, the same month that Suzuki introduced the Vitara Brezza.

In this month, Suzuki sold 2 142 new vehicles and welcomed its 100 000th customer to the family. Of that total, 1 626 vehicles were sold by the dealer network, its highest sales total ever.

The February record was broken a mere month later.

In March, Suzuki hit a new record of 2 397 vehicles and the dealer network set its own new record of 1 962 units, or almost 82% of all Suzuki vehicles sold.

During both February and March, Suzuki achieved an overall market share of 8.56%.

Suzuki’s third sales record was recorded in August, when it sold 2 470 vehicles in one month. This record cemented Suzuki’s position as the fifth best-selling vehicle brand in the country.

September proved to be the brand’s best month of the year. Not only did it host adventure athletes as a partner to the Ult.X Festival at Sun City, but it burst on the scene at the Simola Hillclimb as partner to several Suzuki-powered sports cars. In fact, a Suzuki-powered car won the Classic Car race, and another set a top 10 fastest time in the overall King of the Hill competition.

September was also the month in which Suzuki broke through the 3 000-unit barrier for the first time in its history. In September, 3 134 Suzuki cars, SUVs and commercial vehicles found new homes, nearly double that of July 2019, when it set a new sales record of 1 577 vehicles. This gave Suzuki a record passenger vehicle market share of 10.33%.

October belonged to Suzuki’s dealer network, which has since grown to 75 dealers.

In this month, the brand sold 2 593 vehicles, with dealers registering 2 083 of the units sold. This was a new record for the dealer network and the first time that the network sold over 2 000 units in one month.

October was also the month in which Suzuki recognised its top performing dealers at its annual Dealer of the Year Awards. Suzuki Rustenburg took overall honours, but as a credit to the outstanding performance of all dealers, no fewer than 11 dealers received Elite Awards and a further 13 took home Platinum Awards for their exceptional sales and customer service standards.

In November, Suzuki again broke through the 3 000-unit mark, but fell just short of its overall record. Despite this, the dealer network hit a new record of 2 097 units and no fewer than 17 dealers each sold more than 50 new Suzuki models in one month.

“2021 has definitely been Suzuki’s year. We ended November with a passenger vehicle market share of over 10% and our dealer network has never been larger, or healthier,” says Havenga.

“Our dealer network deserves its success, especially after two very tough years during which dealers had to contend with erratic vehicle supply, varying lockdown levels and the impact that this had on customer morale and staff productivity.”

Mzansi is mad for Suzuki motorcycles

While Suzuki’s range of passenger vehicles accounted for the lion’s share of the sales records in 2021, Suzuki Motorcycles had its best-ever start to sales of the Hayabusa range.

Suzuki delivered the first all-new Hayabusa hypersport motorcycles to customers in October, after a nationwide launch and a special appearance at the Simola Hillclimb in September 2021.

“We delivered 65 new Hayabusas to dealers in the first three months, and the first 50 of those are already with their owners. This is a/ previously unheard-of level of sales for a hypersport bike that costs more than R300 000,” says Chris Kuun, Head of Motorcycle Marketing and Public Relations at Suzuki Auto South Africa.

In total, Suzuki sold 1 339 new motorcycles in 2021, with many orders in the pipeline for new models such as the Hayabusa and upcoming GSX-S1000 and GSX-S1000GT that are planned for introduction in the first quarter of 2022.

Suzuki Marine makes waves with best-ever year

Not to be outdone by its landlocked brothers, Suzuki Marine sold 128 outboard motors in December as customers prepared for the holiday season.

This is a massive increase of 39,7% over the same month last year and it helped Suzuki Marine achieve an all-time new sales record of 1 189 outboard motors in 2021 and a new market share record of 51.3% of all four-stroke outboard motor sales.

The high sales, an increase of 25,9% over the COVID-hit 2020, meant that Suzuki retains its status as the overall market leader. It has held this position for seven of the past nine years and now ranks well clear of its competitors in this hotly contested lifestyle market.

“Suzuki’s sales record includes purchases in the recreational market with new people entering the boating lifestyle. We welcome first-time boat buyers, as this is an important pillar of the boating sector. We are very thankful that boating has done so well during the pandemic as this is an activity that can be safely practised outside and in isolation with one’s family.

“To support this market, Suzuki Marine South Africa has made a lot of boating content available on the blog for new boaters to learn the basics and make the most of their hobby,” says Tanja Maes, manager for Suzuki Marine South Africa.

Exciting year ahead

Suzuki is preparing for another high-impact year in 2022.

“We have a full slate in 2022 and look forward to welcoming even more vehicle, motorcycle and boating customers to our family in the year ahead.

“We are working hard with our team at Suzuki’s head office in Japan to make sure that we get as many new vehicles as possible and eliminate or shorten any residual waiting lists that resulted from the disruptions of the last two years.

“And as always, our most important goal will be to continue to improve on the customer service levels that have made us one of South Africa’s fastest-growing and most-loved brands,” says Brandon Carpenter, Brand Marketing Manager of Suzuki Auto South Africa.