South Africa has been manufacturing vehicles since the 1920s and its legacy as a production base is further strengthened today by the country’s position as a springboard economy to the rest of the vast continent.
While the southernmost African country has yet to reach its 2006 peak for total vehicle sales, Suzuki Auto South Africa is driving sales growth, exceeding expectations and raising the brand awareness of Suzuki across the country.
Suzuki, the Japanese compact- car specialist, has reason to celebrate.
Last year marked Suzuki Auto South Africa’s 10th anniversary and the company recently achieved its best-ever sales month.
“For the first time in a decade, we sold 12,000 units last year and last June was our best month on record,” said Yukio Sato, managing director of Suzuki Auto South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
“I have had the pleasure of working in South Africa for six years so far and I am very pleased with our efforts and the progress we have made. Our growth during this period has been phenomenal; we have doubled our market share and Suzuki has become the fastest growing automotive brand in the country.”
Brand recognition and customer service have been the pillars of the company’s achievements. In back-toback years (2017 and 2018), Suzuki was designated South Africa’s Automotive Brand of the Year by market specialist Lightstone Auto — making Suzuki the first repeat winner.
“The Brand of the Year Award is chosen purely on questionnaire feedback from 7,500 verified owners and fellow South Africans, which is a sure sign that our hard work done on our service levels, vehicle line-up and pricing is welcomed by the market,” Sato said following the award ceremony.
On Aug. 1, Suzuki Auto South Africa launched the Vitara Turbo and the new Swift Sport in South Africa. The new Swift features a 1.4 liter “Boosterjet-engine” with 103 kW and 230 Nm added to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission for improved performance.
“We want to attract new customers to the Suzuki brand through our knowledgeable and passionate dealers,” said Sato.
“We have instilled a Japanese culture in South Africa and our dealers are committed to supporting our customers even after a sale is made. In addition to entering a new segment early next year, we will continue to provide affordable and safe transportation solutions to our customers across South Africa and drive our business forward.”