Suzuki Jumps Ship On Car Manufacturing In US

Suzuki Ditches Cars for Bikes in US Market

Bart Madson

Bart Madson Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Bashing away at an MCUSA keyboard for more than half a decade, Madson lends his scribbling input on everything from bike reviews to industry features and motorcycle racing reports.

Suzuki Logo

Suzuki will wind down its automobile business in America, as the Japanese marque refocuses its efforts on its motorcycle and powersports offerings. Suzuki’s subsidiary company in the U.S., American Suzuki Motor Corporation, will file Chapter 11 bankruptcy to facilitate the reorganization. The decision to file Chapter 11 and shutter the car business in the States was made during a November 5 meeting of the board. Suzuki cites exchange rate and market trends as two of the reasons why it will discontinue its auto sales in the U.S. Conversely, Suzuki states that it “recognized a possibility that its motorcycle, ATV, marine products businesses could remain profitable and experience increases in sales.” More analysis as of the Suzuki decision is forthcoming, for now the explanatory press statement is posted below courtesy of Suzuki – Bart Madson

Notice Regarding Filing for Chapter 11 Reorganization by American Suzuki Motor Corporation, our Subsidiary in the United States, in connection with the winding down of its Automobile Marketing Business.

American Suzuki Motor Corporation (“ASMC”), a subsidiary of Suzuki Motor Corporation (“SMC”) which distributes automobiles, motorcycles, ATVs, marine products and related parts/accessories in the United States (excluding Hawaii), resolved, during its Board of Directors meeting held on November 5, 2012 (local time), to commence a reorganization proceeding under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, in connection with winding down of its U.S. automobile marketing business and the concentration on its motorcycle, ATV and marine products businesses. As a result, SMC’s distribution of its automobiles in the continental United States will be discontinued.

1. The reason for ASMC’s winding down of its automobile marketing business and concentration on its motorcycle, ATV and marine products businesses

When considering its long-term business plan, ASMC recognized that it will be unable to maintain profitability with respect to its automobile marketing business, taking into account various factors such as economic conditions including the currency exchange rate, market trends, the models of Suzuki automobiles sold in the U.S. which are primarily small cars, ASMC’s projected sales volume and the stringent U.S. environmental and safety regulations. However, ASMC also recognized a possibility that its motorcycle, ATV, marine products businesses could remain profitable and experience increases in sales. Thus, ASMC decided to wind down its unprofitable automobile marketing business and redirect all of its operating resources to its motorcycle, ATV and marine products businesses, to expand these businesses and improve profitability efficiently in all sectors where the prospects for profit are good.

2. The reason for ASMC’s filing for Chapter 11 reorganization

As a way to reorganize the company, wind down its automobile marketing business and concentrate on its motorcycle, ATV and marine products businesses, ASMC has determined to file the Chapter 11. This decision is intended to achieve the following:

(1) to facilitate a smooth transition of the current U.S. automobile dealer sales network into a network of authorized service and parts dealers to allow the company to fully honor all warranties and make service and parts available to customers nationwide as in the past after winding down its automobile marketing business;

(2) to facilitate a mutually beneficial solutions in connection with compensation to be paid to automobile dealers by ASMC in accordance with the stipulated terms and conditions, as they restructure their operations and, for most of the dealers, as they convert to exclusively service and parts operations;

(3) to effectively manage any possible costly and time-consuming legal disputes; and

(4) to realign ASMC as soon as possible in an orderly and fair manner to focus on maintaining and enhancing its motorcycles, ATV and marine businesses

3. Aggregate amount of debt

346 million U.S. dollars (as of September, 30, 2012) 173 million U.S. dollars of which are owed to Suzuki group companies, including SMC

4. SMC’s investment in ASMC and SMC’s claims against ASMC

The amount of the SMC’s investment in ASMC and SMC’s claims against ASMC as of October 31, 2012 are as follows:

(i) SMC’s investment in ASMC
B/S amount of the investment 0 million yen
Entire amount of the SMC’s investment in ASMC of 12,800 million yen (64.7 million dollar) has already been impaired.

(ii) SMC’s claim against ASMC
Trade receivables 10,700 million yen (134 million U.S. dollar)
Loans 2,500 million yen (32 million U.S. dollar)
SMC posted allowance for doubtful accounts of 9,700 million yen on its claims against ASMC as of September 30, 2012

5. Outlook for the future

ASMC plans to commence a reorganization proceeding under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the evening of November 5, 2012 (local time).

SMC has an intention to support ASMC in its restructuring to ensure that ASMC can wind down its automobile marketing business smoothly and ASMC can ensure the continued expansion of sales of Suzuki brand motorcycles, ATV and marine products in the United States.

As to the influence on financial performance of SMC, we will closely monitor the progress of ASMC’s reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code from now, and disclose promptly once a matter for which disclosure is required has occurred.

6. Outline of ASMC

Company name: American Suzuki Motor Corporation

Location: Brea, California, the United States

Representative: Takashi Iwatsuki

Business: Marketing of automobiles, motorcycles, ATVs and marine products, and components and supplies relating thereto

Stated Capital: 64,700 (thousands of U.S. dollar)

Number of Employees: 365 (as of September 30, 2012)

Date of Incorporation: August 14, 1963

Major Shareholder and its shareholding percentage: Suzuki Motors Corporation: 100%

Relationship between SMC and ASMC: Capital relationship SMC holds all outstanding shares of ASMC.

Personal relationship: Takashi Iwatsuki, a managing officer of SMC and a director of ASMC

Business relationship: SMC sells automobiles, motorcycles, ATVs and marine products, and components and supplies relating thereto, to ASMC.

Whether it falls under the classification of Related Party: ASMC is considered a Related Party of SMC since it is a consolidated subsidiary of SMC.

Financial performance and financial position for the latest three years (thousands of U.S. dollar):

Fiscal Period FY Ended
March 2010
FY Ended
March 2011
FY Ended
March 2012
Net asset value -23,140 -102,060 -117,858
Gross asset value 324,516 341,861 318,608
Net asset per share -0.4 -1.6 -1.8
Sales 936,279 751,053 952,629
Operating profit 87,846 -80,238 -16,282
Current profit 87,918 -79,920 -16,313
Net profit 134,857 -78,920 -15,799
Net profit per share 2.1 -1.2 -0.2
Dividend per share

Note: SMC paid $201,318 thousands to ASMC in the fiscal year ended in March 2010 in order to maintain compliance with U.S./Japan Advance Pricing Agreement.

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