Despite the overall domestic new-vehicle market contracting by 29.1% last year, Suzuki Auto South Africa (SASA) and its 71 dealers celebrated its most successful year yet since the launch of the Japanese small-car specialist in the local market.
SASA grew its sales by 6.7% in 2020, to 16 527 vehicles.
The year also saw SASA breach the 2 000-unit-sales-a-month level for the first time.
“There is no better testament to the hard work and resilience of our staff and dealer network than the increase in sales last year,” says SASA sales and marketing divisional manager André Venter.
“One should keep in mind that for a couple of weeks we were not able to welcome customers at all, and in the latter part of the year we were constrained by a shortage of stock from some international suppliers.
“Yet our team did everything they could to keep our customers happy and our waiting lists as short as possible.”
Venter says Suzuki grew in every area of its business, with no single retail channel or model solely responsible for the increase in sales.
For instance, the Suzuki dealer network grew its 2020 sales by 17.84% over 2019, with 13 556 customers welcomed to the Suzuki family.
At the same time, Suzuki grew its sales to fleet customers and the government by 12%, despite the fact that rental industry purchases dropped by 26.2% last year.
To accommodate the growing Suzuki family, SASA opened ten new dealers last year, mostly in rural areas.
These included new dealers in Mokopane, Makhado, Secunda and as far north as Otjiwarongo and Ongwediva, in Namibia.
SASA also moved its head office to a new facility in Johannesburg, which nearly doubled its available warehouse space, and offered a new, larger dispatch area for service and repair parts.
This allows it to better serve its network of dealers and offer a new 24-hour turnaround time on most parts.
The past year also saw several upgrades to its existing model range, including the Dzire, Ignis and Baleno, and the introduction of the budget-beating S-Presso.
Suzuki managed to introduce the new S-Presso from the onset as South Africa’s most affordable compact sports-utility vehicle.
“The S-Presso has proven to be the perfect product for tough times and it proved to cash-strapped consumers that they do not have to forego new car luxuries and an SUV body shape when they opt for an entry-level vehicle,” says Venter.
SASA promises that the product planning that brought the S-Presso to South Africa, with its mix of affordable price and good features, will also be evident in the upcoming launch of the Suzuki Vitara Brezza.
The Vitara Brezza is the best-selling vehicle in India. It will be launched in South Africa in February.