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At 78, Osamu Suzuki to become Suzuki Motor president once again

Posted by: Ian Rowley on December 10, 2008

Eight years after stepping down as Suzuki Motor’s president, Osamu Suzuki is to return to the top job at the Japanese automaker. Later today, the company is expected to announce that Suzuki, 78, will take over from Hiroshi Tsuda, who after five years as chief is stepping down due to ill health.

Suzuki, who had been chairman, once vowed to “die in battle” and has been at the firm 50 years, even changing his name from Matsuda to Suzuki after marrying the granddaughter of the company’s founder. Despite his age, Suzuki remains a sharp operator and is unusually colorful in public compared to many Japanese CEOs. He is also highly respected for his role in steering Suzuki into India, where it remains the number one automaker, years before it was fashionable. In the first half of 2008, Suzuki was the world’s tenth biggest car maker by unit sales.

Nevertheless, his recall once again highlights the problem of succession at Suzuki. In a September interview with Reuters, Suzuki discussed his sadness after his son-in-law Hirotaka Ono, who he had hoped would be his long-term successor, died of cancer a year ago. “I spent seven years grooming him for the job, but unfortunately he passed away,” he told the wire service. The role is made even more challenging by the current crisis engulfing the global auto industry. In recent weeks, GM sold its remaining share in Suzuki, while Indian sales, which make up a big chunk of its earnings, plummeted 26% in November.

For all that, investors appeared to take the development in their stride. In Tokyo trading, Suzuki’s stock rose 7.1%, which was roughly in line with other automakers. One reason is likely to be that most Suzuki watchers know that, while the septuagenarian exec’s job description has fluctuated over the years, his influence has never waned behind the scenes.

Reader Comments


June 24, 2009 9:08 AM

Good afternoon,

My name is Josip Cecić and I am contacting you with hope that problem regarding my
s will be solved.
I bought my bike at HRC Dudo d.o.o. Suzuki approved dealer in Zagreb (Croatia) on
06th April 2007.
When I came to take bike during its first ignition I heard strange noise (knocking)
of the engine,
and when i engage clutch that noise will periodically reduced. On question why my
bike is making
such strange noise (like something is wrong) I get answer from Dudo that this is
normal working of
two cylinder engine.
Lucky because i bought new bike when I came home (bike was brought from Zagreb to
Split by van) I
wanted to share my happiness with my relatives and friends, but as soon as I started
engine my
pleasure was reduced again because all people that were present there at that moment
told me same
thing that I told to Dudo that bike is not working properly because of very strange
noise it makes.
After 3 days I called Dudo on cell phone and asked him again same question why my
bike is still
working strange and his answer was that this is normal for twin cylinder engine and
it will reduce
after some time when bike will get working hours. In same telephone call I told him
that bolt for
front fork adjusting bolt is getting loose (he answered that this is happening
because of holes on
the road), and engine is losing anti freeze liquid ( answer was that I add little of
anti freeze and
no worries).

On first regular service (according Suzuki regulations) in Eurorent - Split (Moto
Sport Brekalo) I
reported following:

1.) Strange knocking of engine
2.) Strange noise of engine
3.) Unscrewing of bolt for front fork adjusting
4.) Constant loss of anti freeze liquid and engine oil
5.) Strange acting of bike while driving and while starting to move clutch is very
difficult to
control normally
6.) During normal driving frequently is switching off and rear wheel is blocking
7.) Engine is exploding below fuel tank and injectors are falling out.

For explosions below fuel tank (ref. no. 7) when air filter box was dismantled
because of explosion
I was told that my bike was not Japanese Ducati?!

I was bringing my bike frequently to approved service because of the above mentioned
problems and
nothing was rectified I just was object of laughing of the engineers whenever I asked

In approved Suzuki service engineers were assuring me that my bike was working
normally I was
driving it and because of switching off of the engine during normal driving and rear
wheel blocking
(ref. no. 6) for few times I avoided accidents (luckily) and serious injuries.
In the meantime I saw a guy with same bike on the road and spoken with him regarding
problems that
I'm having he couldn't believe because he was very satisfied with his Suzuki SV 1000
s, what I
couldn't tell for my bike. When he started engine of his bike it was running very
smoothly and
completely different than mine, than I understood that my bike is factory mistake.
Somewhere in the mid of August (immediately after the above mentioned conversation) I
contacted HRC
Dudo and asked to repair my bike (in the meantime Dudo died and his son Renato has
taken over family
business). When I told the above mentioned story to Renato he told me that HRC Dudo
company is not
working anymore, which was complete lie because I checked on commercial court in
Split that they are
still in business so simply told nobody wanted to solve my problem.
Next time when I brought my bike for service engineer raised rpm's to 2000 and told
me that in that
way noise is reduced but while trying to put it in first gear noise was even bigger
than before and
he lowered rpm's and told me to bring back bike again after two month because they
have other job to
do but bike was not still repaired.
I brought back bike again in service 24th October 2008 (new engineer was working) and
I reported all
the above mentioned items to be repaired plus that bike's tail is broken below rear
seat, damages to
paint, loss of power of the bike and explosions of air filter box becoming usual.
After some time engineer called me on the phone and told me that inside clutch basket
he found all
springs broken, and that it is not a part of Suzuki warranty so I ordered new clutch
basket trough
approved Suzuki dealer and when it arrived I paid app. 300 euro for spare part plus
assembly and
regular service for the bike.
When bike was assembled again same noise of the engine as before was still present,
and bike was
handed over to me as it was in good working condition. When I came home I let the
bike cool down and
when I started it again noise was bigger than before, and I informed Brekalo about
Next morning I was contacted from Siniša Ban from Repofica (Zagreb) and he told me to
bring bike
back to Brekalo what I did on 27th November 2008 but I was told that Suzuki is on
till 07th January 2009 and to bring back bike to him on that date because there is no
spare parts
delivery in that time.
Brekalo was trying that I bring the bike one week later than scheduled and I didn't
accept that so I
brought it immediately to him, while later I've discovered that Suzuki was normally
delivering spare
parts till 22nd December so his story about Suzuki's holiday was false and on my
question why this
is happening he told me main problem is because of Hungarian supplier and when they
were working
with Austrian supplier everything was going smooth.
When I saw that lies are presented to me for the first time I contacted Miljenko
Gvozdic to whom I
wanted to explain my problems but he told me that I’m taking too much of his
Disappointed with all the above mentioned I told him that we will see each other on
the court and he
reply that than I can forget my bike getting repaired in that case.
From Brekalo I asked to hand over to me working orders for repairs done on my bike
from first time I
had problems with it (because he never has given any working order to me).
He gave me two working orders one for 03.Oct.08 and another for 13.Jan.09 (wrong
dates because bike
was out of order in that time) and inside he didn’t wrote all facts that I
reported because
they were too much for two working orders as he said?! ¬¬I left the bike to
him and I
agreed with him to call me whenever bike will be ready.
I contacted Sinisa Ban and explained him what’s happening to me in Split but he
told me that
my bike was not bought at approved Suzuki dealer and all they are doing is a favor to
me because
they don’t have anything with it and that bikes from Italy don’t have
I came to pick up my bike from Brekalo 10.Feb.09 and after I was told that finally
everything is in
good working order I took it and went home. On the way home app. 80 meters from
traffic light red
light appeared and during slow down (to stop on red traffic light) suddenly bike has
accelerated on
his own and I lose steering but fortunately I get steering again but I passed through
red light and
stopped in the middle of crossroad.
After that I called Brekalo and I told him what happened and that bike is working
from 3800 till
4500 rpm’s, he told me that this is impossible and to bring bike tomorrow to
I returned bike at service and engineer told me that problem had occurred because
bike was not in
function for 3 month and during all works done on my bike computer was not used at
all as they said
Hungarian’s didn’t supply them with computer.
After one week I came to pick up the bike again and anti freeze liquid was not in the
system at all
but I was told that it will appear again after engine heats for first time. Bike came
on working
temperature but anti freeze liquid didn’t come back and rpm’s were on
1800 at minimum.
After I have noticed that they had scratched bike plastic parts, front light, wind
shield, and chain
was destroyed almost completely.
I reported all the above mentioned damage to Brekalo and requested to hand me over
bike in same
state that it was brought at service for repairs. I asked him to write new working
order for that
and he told me that he will do that if I strap all old working orders.
I have reported my case to the State inspectorate, Association for customers
protection and on
television. That day I have spoken with Miljenko Gvozdić again trying to persuade him
to solve my
problem without going to all these institutions. He told me to sue them and that we
will talk on the
court. The show on the Croatian national television ‘potrošački kod’
(buyers code)
was on 17.02.2009. That is the most popular TV show that deals with customers’
18.02.2009 at 9:00 PM the police showed up on my door with a subpoena. Mr. Brekalo
sued me for
threatening him. I have to say that I haven’t seen Mr. Brekalo in my life. Few
days later they
called me again and told me that my bike is fixed and that I should come to take it.
I went there
with my brother. We saw there Mr. Brekalo, his parents, Renato and other seven
people. They
wouldn’t give me the bike and they insisted that my mother comes to take it. I
wanted them to
try if the bike was working properly which they refused. They said that they would
never sit on a
broken bike. Renato also told me that none of this would be in a warranty because the
valves are
broken. My mother didn’t want to take the bike because they didn’t want
to try the bike.
She thought that it wasn’t safe for me to drive it either. She also paid 350
€ for court
expert to see if the bike was valid. We were supposed to go to the expertise but we
called. Without driving the bike they said that the bike was valid. They didn’t
touch anything
on the bike; there was just an oil stain under the bike. My mother was persistent to
prove that the
bike was broken outside Croatia where everything is corrupted.
I am truly sorry that I had to write all this, I couldn’t even dream that
something like this
could happen. In our family we have Suzuki Crosser TS-50 from 1991 that we drive. We
also had 2
Suzuki Bandits 600 N, my brother has new Suzuki bandit 1200 N that he bought in 2006.
We never had
any problems with those bikes. SV 1000 S was broken from the first day, we were
forced to contact
all above mentioned people that protect each other without thinking about customers.

In my opinion people that work in Suzuki should have better relation with
customers’ because
they are the ones that feed them. They should have more sense for their problems and
cooperate with
them in a better way like Mr. Edvard from Hungary does. He should be their role model
and my wish is
that more people like Edvard work for Suzuki.
I have to ask you: What would you do if you were me? Would you let someone from your
family sit on a
broken bike? I wouldn’t.
I hope that someone will read this letter, help me out and positively solve my
problem after eight
long months that my bike is in service.
Joško Cecić

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