As the UK’s original and longest-established Suzuki car dealership, Colin Appleyard has always been one of the brand’s biggest advocates and amongst the first to bring the Japanese manufacturer’s latest innovations to our shores. Here, we take a look back at the origins of both companies and how their simultaneous evolution has been a recipe for success.

Origins of the brand

Many people might not realise that Suzuki actually started out in 1909 as the Suzuki Loom Works, a company that had a 30-year run manufacturing looms for Japan’s booming silk industry. It wasn’t until 1939 that founder Michio Suzuki began to follow his long-standing dream of building motor cars and even then, it was almost derailed by the occurrence of World War Two and the resulting economy crash.

However, Michio did not give up on his dream and by 1954, it finally became a reality when the company’s first automobile – the Suzulight – was prototyped and it officially changed its name to Suzuki Motor Co. Ltd. A small team of just six young engineers worked on the project round-the-clock and produced a car that was years ahead of its time, with innovations such as front-wheel drive, rack and pinion steering and four-wheel independent suspension.

The launch of the production Suzulight in 1955 kickstarted what would be decades of pioneering manufacturing for the Suzuki brand, with engineering milestones across its production of cars, motorcycle, ATVs and Marine Engines. The brand is still one of the top ten car makers in the world and before the pandemic hit, it was producing 3.05 million vehicles a year.

Evolution equals longevity

While not all models launched over the past four decades have stayed in the Suzuki stable, there are a number of products that have evolved over the years into the still-popular cars they are today. The 1980s saw three of the most well-known models join the Suzuki range and Appleyard’s showroom, and all three still proving popular today, albeit greatly advanced.

1982 saw the introduction of the SJ410, which later became the much-loved Jimny, a masterpiece of Suzuki’s world-renowned 4WD technology and soon to return to the UK market as a 2-seat commercial 4x4. It’s older sibling, the Suzuki Vitara was also an 80s baby, although the current hybrid model is a much more refined version of the utilitarian original, offering a luxurious but affordable family-friendly SUV with a hybrid engine.

The original Suzuki Swift – then a rebadge of the Suzuki Cultus – was launched in 1983, although it was reincarnated as the global version we know now in 2004. This was the car that solidified Suzuki’s reputation as a great manufacturer of small cars and the all-new, fourth-generation 2021 version has progressed with the times once again to feature Suzuki’s hybrid technology.

The future is bright (blue)

As is the case with all manufacturers, the global Covid-19 pandemic has brought major challenges, however Suzuki is looking to the future and continuing to make technological advances in keeping with the changing landscape. The company’s Environmental Vision 2050 is the driving force, with a strong focus on reducing CO2 emissions and minimising air polluting substances.

Hybrid technology is now across the Suzuki range, including the much-loved Suzuki Ignis mini SUV and the Suzuki S-Cross 4WD. Colin Appleyard has also taken stock of two all-new models developed by Suzuki in conjunction with Toyota. The functional but sporty Suzuki Swace estate is a self-charging hybrid offering fantastic fuel economy and seriously low emissions. The Suzuki Across SUV is the manufacturer’s first plug-in hybrid model, boasting one of the longest electric-only driving ranges of any plug-in hybrid at up to 46 miles.

Whatever the future holds, Suzuki aims to continue its impressive evolution as an automobile manufacturer, providing compact cars and sports utility vehicles that offer the perfect balance of innovation and practicality. In turn, Colin Appleyard will continue to bring the latest models to its UK customer base, with its team of highly knowledgeable staff whose expertise of the Suzuki range is arguably second-to-none.

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