Suzuki no Europe profit since 2008, report says
FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- Suzuki has failed to post a profit for its European operations in four years and cannot say when it will cease posting losses, its regional chief told a German business magazine.
"[The year] 2008 was the last time we were profitable -- we haven't been in the black since. If that continues for much longer than I am in serious difficulties," Suzuki Europe chief Takanori Suzuki told WirtschaftsWoche.
He aims to lift sales in Europe to 300,000 vehicles by 2016. The magazine did not provide a current comparison figure.
According to data from the European auto industry association ACEA, Suzuki sales fell 13.4 percent last year to 154,446 vehicles in the 27-member European Union as well as the three European Free Trade Association countries -- Switzerland, Iceland and Norway. Its share of that market fell 10 basis points to 1.2 percent.
Suzuki operates a plant in Hungary, where it built about 155,000 cars in 2012 out of a possible capacity of 220,000 a year, according to the magazine.
On a Suzuki Hungary Web site, the company has written that capacity even reached 300,000 in 2008, following several years of expansion. That same year it decided to return to building cars only in two shifts, and made 1,200 employees redundant.
The Europe chief said he was not sure whether there would be enough spare capacity to build Fiats and Opels once the plant begins supplying markets in Australia, Africa and South America as well. "It could be close," he said. "I can't say whether there is enough capacity to build the cars of our cooperation partners."
Fiat has the Sedici crossover built there off a Suzuki SX4 platform, while Opel and its UK sister brand, Vauxhall, have the Agila manufactured there off a Suzuki Splash platform. Both the Sedici and Agila are niche models for the two brands.Contact Automotive News