Vitara Auto makes a perfect company car
No matter from which angle you approach this proposition, the sums add up. What does the typical company executive desire most from his mode of transport? 1) An SUV-class model; with Vitara he gets it. A neat-looking, well-balanced, all-wheel-driven machine. 2) The latest driver and safety aids; with Vitara he gets them. A comprehensive suite of devices, including lane discipline, distance cruise and blind-spot recognition. 3) Tax-friendliness; with Vitara he gets it. Both Benefit-in-Kind and other purchase price aspects are pitched at affordable levels. 4) Good equipment levels; with Vitara he gets them. Alcantara clad seats, soft-touch dashboard, climate control and a full range of seat and steering column adjustability. 5) Comfort; with Vitara he gets it. There is no need to stop to relieve backache. Vision from the driver’s seat is all-around excellent. Compact dimensions equate to ease of parking. 6) Liveable running costs; with Vitara he gets them. Up to 50mpg, even with the automatic gearbox option on the 1.4-litre version and annual servicing requirements.
Accepting that not everybody would place a high value on an automatic gearbox, while the manual 6-speed is a delight, the auto-box, which is also a six-speed unit, is ultra-convenient and relieves an enormous amount of stress from city driving, traffic snarl-ups and even delving into the Vitara’s tremendous dynamic resource pool. Its paddle-shifters work effortlessly to the driver’s precise needs, providing speedy up and downshifts, with zero demerits but better exhaust emissions and marginally improved performance spread over the manual. It IS a fully-automatic transmission and not one of those automated-manual alternatives but its range of efficiency is prodigious.
Therefore, the bottom-line is, whether you have been given a fixed budget for your next company car, or even the cash alternative, do yourself a favour, get along to Luscombe Suzuki and ask for more details on the Vitara Automatic. It is all the car you will ever need!
Luscombe’s summary: We offer excellent rates to the business community, whether on finance, or outright purchase. If you are a ‘user-chooser’, keep us in the loop, because the latest Vitara (even in 1.0-litre guise) is a business car par excellence.
Next week: Ignis – the far-from-ordinary road and mud-plugger!
From silk weaving to motorised transport
Suzuki possesses a far from complex history, writes Iain Robertson, which mirrors a rag trade to riches tale, taking on-board motorcars, motorbikes and power units, that is similar to a wide number of other motor manufacturers around the world.
No less than 110 years ago, Michio Suzuki established a weaving loom business to serve the burgeoning needs of the Japanese silk fabric industry. By 1929, it started to export its finely engineered machinery to other markets. As Japan was experiencing a pre-WW2 manufacturing boom, Mr Suzuki sought to diversify into the compact car scene. The first motorcar prototype to bear his family name appeared in 1937, however, its production was halted by hostilities, as cars were considered a non-essential commodity by Japan’s war department.
In the immediate period post-WW2, the US government had sanctioned the exports of cotton to Japan and Suzuki’s weaving business roared back into production, until the market collapsed in the early-1950s. Mr Suzuki simply returned to the drawing-board, to satisfy a domestic requirement for affordable and dependable transport.
Its first motorcycle, which featured a ‘clip-on’ engine, was the ‘Power Free’ model. By 1954, armed with a government grant, Suzuki was producing 6,000 motorbikes a month. Yet, just one year later, the Suzulight, front-wheel-drive motorcar appeared. It was surprisingly advanced and featured independent suspension and rack-and-pinion steering, long before any of its Japanese rivals. The Suzuki ‘S’-badge was adopted across its brands from 1958.
The company’s first motorcycle landmark occurred in 1960, when it first entered the famous Isle of Man TT races. It would be another couple of years, before the company claimed its first outright victory, a creditable performance from a relative newcomer. The 1970s produced more consistent two-wheeled race results and the introduction of the first ‘Light Jeep’ LJ10 forerunner to today’s Jimny. Suzuki was also ‘going international’ by building cars and bikes in places as far flung as Indonesia, Canada and Pakistan.
In 1981, US car giant, General Motors and its Japanese subsidiary, Isuzu, entered a ‘cooperation’ with Suzuki (buying 5.3% of its shares). Suzuki signed a deal with Land Rover to build the Santana model in Spain, in 1982, while Maruti was established in India as a joint venture manufacturing and distribution company for Suzuki. Brand sales companies were established in several key centres worldwide. By the end of the 1980s, over 10m cars had been produced.
The 1990s were exceptionally fruitful for Suzuki, with its new carmaking subsidiary in Hungary getting started, although the Isuzu-Suzuki deal was dissolved in 1994. GM increased its stake in Suzuki to 10%. By 2000, that stake had grown to 20% and Suzuki commenced producing cars in the Argentinian GM factory. By 2006, with immense domestic problems looming for GM, its stake was cut to 3% again, only for GM to sell back its remaining shares in 2008. The GM stake was supplanted by Volkswagen in 2010 but it was a short-lived relationship, ending acrimoniously in late-2011.
Suzuki in the UK commenced trading in 1963, becoming Heron-Suzuki until 1994, when the UK plc organisation was set-up and finally obtained its current HQ premises in Milton Keynes, from where it distributes ALL Suzuki products in the UK.
Luscombe’s summary: Entering its 56th year in the UK, 110 year old Suzuki is currently the eighth largest car brand in the world and its future is looking very rosy indeed.
Next week: Suzuki’s attitude to training its people
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