Suzuki sees sales, hiring increase for PH market

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Suzuki Philippines Inc. sees a 10-percent increase in motorcycle sales along with a 20-percent hike in vehicle sales as it opens more dealerships and brings new models into the fast-growing Philippine market.

Company president Satoshi Uchida said the Japanese manufacturer aims to sell more than 100,000 motorcycles from the 94,000 sold in 2012. Bike sales in 2011 reached 93,000. This will entail a corresponding increase in employees, which means the company will be hiring new people for various departments to support growth.

Uchida said he sees growth in all sizes of motorcycles as consumer spending grows in the Philippines, encouraging motorists to buy their first or even additional motorcyles or vehicles.

Suzuki aims to sell just under 6,000 vehicles this year, Uchida told reporters. In 2012, Suzuki posted 13.4-percent growth to 4,501 units sold from 3,968 units in 2011.

To support growth targets and take advantage of higher consumer spending, Suzuki is expanding its dealership network in the Philippines.

Suzuki may add 5 to 10 car dealerships all over the Philippines this year, Uchida said. Already, the Japanese firm has opened its first fully integrated automobile and motorcycle dealership, located at the corner of Bautista and Finlandia streets in Makati City. In 2012, Suzuki added 5 dealerships to close the year with 25.

“Metro Manila is still our strongest market in the Philippines but Visayas and Mindanao are also showing great sales potential,” Uchida said.

The Kizashi, a sporty sedan set against segment leaders Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, is one of the models Suzuki is pushing.

The Philippine market is hungry for compact cars that are fuel-efficient and environment-friendly, which is exactly the segment Suzuki has been focused on, Uchida said. Suzuki is exploring new territory, however, with the luxurious yet sporty Kizashi that was launched only last year.

The Japanese manufacturer had focused on compact and economical cars until recently. The subcompact Swift, the all-purpose APV, the economical SUV Jimny, and the value-for-money SUV Vitara are among the company’s more popular models.

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