American Suzuki Reorganizes

American Suzuki Motor Corp. has announced a plan to consolidate its independent business units — Automotive, Motorcycle/ATV and Marine, along with corporate operations — under a new president, Kinji Saito.

Based in Brea, Calif., Suzuki says the move is being made to better optimize its operations in the United States. The OEM says all of the changes are focused on internal restructuring and do not affect the separate dealer bodies that support each of the company's product divisions.

"It is ideal for all of our divisions to work more closely together, plan together and communicate together as a single company, rather than as separate business units," Saito said in a prepared statement.

Saito, who most recently served as deputy executive general manager, Global Marketing at Suzuki Motor Corp. in Japan, will oversee all of the operations, sales and marketing activities of American Suzuki. Rick Suzuki, who has served as chairman of American Suzuki, will become its board advisor. Mark Harano, president of the Automotive Operations; Masaaki Kato, president of the Motorcycle, ATV and Marine Operations, and Motoo Murakami, president of Corporate Operations, will now become EVPs of the consolidated company and continue to oversee their respective operations.

"This reorganization reflects our strong commitment to the United States marketplace, 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," Saito said.

American Suzuki Motor Corp. was founded in 1963 by parent company Suzuki Motor Corp. (SMC). SMC says worldwide motorcycle sales for its year ended March 31 totaled 3.34 million units, up 9 percent from 3.07 million units in the previous fiscal year. ATV sales fell 18 percent from 125,000 units to 102,000 units.

Suzuki plans to increase motorcycle production by 10.3 percent to 3.78 million units this year. The OEM's new "Medium Term Three-Year Plan (April 2008 to March 2011)" calls for worldwide motorcycle sales of 4.40 million units by 2010.