Suzuki is trying to emulate BMW’s and Volvo's success on the seas by associating its brand with one of the world’s most famous sailboat races.
Suzuki hopes to boost its small presence in Europe with help from the Route du Rhum solo race across the Atlantic, which is estimated to reach more than 2 million potential customers in the region.
That kind of exposure usually is something only a larger automaker with a bigger marketing budget could afford, a Suzuki spokeswoman told me. The automaker handed out more brochures and gift bags prior to the race’s start last week in St. Malo, France, than it did at the Paris auto show last month.
In the past, BMW sponsored a team in the America’s Cup while its Swedish rival gets a nice commercial lift from the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race, which started last month and will conclude in June 2015.