SEE | Suzuki is on a roll - we look back at the brand's stellar year and what to expect in 2023

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  • Suzuki started selling vehicles in South Africa in 2008. 

  • The Japanese brand outsold Toyota and Volkswagen for passenger car sales in May 2022. 

  • The automaker will introduce the new Grand Vitara in the first quarter of 2023. 

When Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas Is You starts to play, you know that the year is drawing to a close. And for one automaker, it's been a stellar 2022. Suzuki is one of the automakers that has only grown stronger since it started selling vehicles locally in 2008. The last 14 years have seen the Japanese brand launch many new and existing offerings like the Celerio, Ignis and Vitara Brezza. They've also reached record-breaking personal milestones. In February 2020, Suzuki set a new sales record when it sold 1 696 new vehicles. In September of that year, the record climbed to 1 787 units, and in October 2020, that figure rose to 2 032. How's that for growth? No Scott's Emulsion needed. 

REVIEW | No fancy tech and no fuss – the Suzuki Baleno does affordable (really) well

Record-breakers and class leaders 

In keeping with the trend of breaking records, according to Naamsa's (National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa) monthly sales figures for May 2022, Suzuki sold 4 250 new vehicles. Compare that to Volkswagen South Africa, which sold 4 468 cars during the same period. While that total might be more, it includes 529 passenger vehicles from Audi as well. This means that VWSA actually sold 3 939 cars in total. On the other hand, Toyota sold 3 998 vehicles (albeit due to the Prospecton plant shut down in April due to severe damage caused by the KZN floods). 

Do you think Suzuki could eventually overtake the likes of Toyota and Volkswagen in terms of sales? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The S-Presso, Swift and Vitara Brezza are becoming Suzuki's meat-and-drink offerings, consistently bringing in three-figure monthly amounts. Their most affordable car is priced at R156 900 (S-Presso), while their most expensive comes in at R438 900 (Vitara). Affordability and value for money are what people want, and Suzuki is an expert at the craft. 

In addition to knocking sales out of the park, they've also become more involved with their customers, as was the case at this year's Simola Hillclimb event, where Suzuki was one of the event's major sponsors, while also having a couple of Swift Sport models participate.

2021 Suzuki Swift GLX front
2021 Suzuki Swift GLX

Suzuki is definitely a brand of the people. Not only do they bring forth affordable offerings for the masses, but their marketing and customer engagement is, like the youngsters of today say - on fleek. 

WATCH | Suzuki's feisty Swift Sport hot hatch keeps Porsche Cayman S honest up the Simola Hill         

Even though Toyota is reaping the rewards of the model collaboration between themselves and Suzuki, the underlying message is that people will start buying more of the original brand cars (Suzuki) - because if Toyota is willing to 'copy' them, their products must really be good. 

Who knows, Suzuki might leverage Toyota's hybrid technology and introduce its own model. A cross or S-Cross Hybrid, perhaps? 

What's in store for 2023? 

With Suzuki having already launched new generations of the Baleno and Celerio and a refreshed Ertiga in 2022, we contacted Suzuki South Africa to find out which models they would be launching in 2023.

Suzuki Vitara Brezza S-Edition
Suzuki Vitara Brezza S-Edition

Suzuki told News24 Motoring: "We will introduce the new Grand Vitara in the first quarter of next year. This was displayed at the Festival of Motoring and at the SA Auto week in October.

"We will share updates if any other new models will be launching in due course." 

While we're looking at the year ahead, the Japanese automaker is in no way taking its foot off the throttle for 2022 just yet. Suzuki is preparing for a solid year-end sales drive to deliver as many vehicles to awaiting customers as possible. And while their dealer network can't compare to Toyota's vast footprint, the brand now has 87 dealers around the country, with the latest additions in Swellendam, Malmesbury and King Williams' Town.

Henno Havenga, Manager for Auto Dealer Sales at Suzuki Auto South Africa, says the turmoil at their main import harbour and global shipping has delayed some vehicle deliveries to dealers and customers.

2022 Suzuki Baleno
2022 Suzuki Baleno

"There is significant pent-up demand from customers and dealers, and we will make every effort to catch up in November and December.

"You can tell by the sales of popular models, such as the S-Presso (206 vehicles) and Baleno (233 units), those specific products were in short supply. We are heartened to see customers for these and other Suzuki models patiently waiting for their new cars rather than shop elsewhere.

"Our research and the feedback from our dealer network show that Suzuki owners, once part of the family, are willing to wait for their Suzukis.

"We do not take this for granted and have invested significantly in our head office capacity and dealer network to ensure that we maintain the level of service that has made our customers so loyal," says Havenga.

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