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Suzuki Makes Announcement Regarding Kawasaki Relationship

The following press release was received by MD today from Suzuki. It is the latest information, from Suzuki’s perspective, regarding the evolving Suzuki/Kawasaki relationship.

American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC), which markets motorcycles and ATVs in the U.S. with a network of more than 1,000 dealerships, said today Suzuki is moving forward with its announced strategic alliance between Suzuki Motor Corporation and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., both based in Japan – an alliance that will result in an expanded line for Suzuki dealers as early as this year.

The alliance, as jointly announced by both companies in Japan in August 2001, is based on automotive partnership models designed to increase competitiveness in an increasingly complex environment, and will include shared product development, standardization of parts, joint purchasing and manufacturing. Progress on these projects will be disclosed to Suzuki dealers in the near future as details become available, according to Mel Harris, vice president of ASMC’s motorcycle/ATV division.

“In the short-term, the alliance will further broaden our award-winning line-up and enable us to offer our motorcycle and ATV dealers in the U.S. the most competitive product line in the industry,” Harris explained. “This initial sharing of models will help us further expand the increasing popularity of the youth, offroad and competition segments, while maintaining the dominance of our brand in super sports and street categories.”

Harris says the long-term implications of the alliance are even more crucial, with the ultimate goal being co-development of future products and a net shift in global market share to Suzuki.

“Ultimately, the alliance helps us satisfy the increasingly global demand for Suzuki brand product – a demand that resulted in the doubling of our retail business in North America during the past four years,” Harris said. “The popularity and sales momentum we’ve seen with our motorcyles – primarily the Hayabusa, GSX-R, Intruder, Bandit and SV models — has been carried over to our expanded ATV line, which now includes the Eiger, Vinson, Ozark, LT-A50 and new sport LT-Z400. Suzuki pioneered four-wheelers, and the continued development of our ATV lines makes our First on Four Wheels slogan now more relevant than ever.”

“The maintenance and expanded recognition of the Suzuki brand in the U.S. — a brand backed by product with inherent Suzuki quality — will remain our number one priority,” said Harris. “This strategic alliance helps us achieve brand and market share growth while giving us even more of an edge in the U.S. and global marketplaces.”