Suzuki rented out the New York streets of Universal Studios Orlando for their dealers to enjoy a private party at the amusement park.
It is a fact that times are tight in the motorcycle industry these days, but the vibe at the 2012 Suzuki Dealer Meeting, held at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center in Florida, gave us a vision of what to expect from Suzuki this year and into the future. Motorcycle sales may not be growing in leaps and bounds but it has shown a slight increase for Suzuki from 2010 – 2011. This year we don’t see the elimination of any Suzuki motorcycle models but instead are introduced to some additions and upgrades to many of its existing models. Suzuki showcased their updated 2012 Suzuki GSX-R1000 and unveiled their new Boulevard C50T Classic cruiser along with the new V-Strom Adventure models.
Creating a positive buzz for dealers is the purpose of any dealer meeting and Suzuki’s efforts did just that when it came to showing dealer appreciation, presenting an executive plan and by simply offering a fun experience. Awards were handed out to top selling dealers and brand ambassadors such as Travis Pastrana and Ricky Carmichael pumped up the crowd to create excitement about what’s to come for 2012. Suzuki also flew out top athletes such as current AMA Supersport rider Elena Myers, Jordan Suzuki AMA Pro Superbikers Roger Lee Hayden and Ben Bostrom along with factory Suzuki motocross rider Brett Metcalfe. All the dealers attending had the opportunity to meet and get autographs from Suzuki’s top racing programs. Suzuki even took it to new heights and rented out the New York City section of Universal Studios Orlando allowing dealers and press to jump on all the rides and take in the amusement park attractions without large public crowds.
Suzuki is focused on rebuilding its brand and uplifting dealer moral by coining the phrase “Way of Life” as part of its marketing efforts. Suzuki’s Senior Director of Motorcycle ATV/Marine, Larry Vandiver, presented marketing plans to expand existing dealer incentives and efforts to improve social media avenues that will improve sales and brand awareness.
Takashi Iwatsuki, Chairman of American Suzuki Motor Corp, spoke of remaining positive through this sluggish economic climate but reinforced the importance of the keys to success. He acknowledged that good marketing tactics and a solid product strategy plan focused on expanding models in growth segments is what will keep Suzuki on track.
Improved 2012 GSX-R1000
The popular Suzuki GSX-R1000 gets engine and chassis changes to improve its performance. Engine upgrades include redesigned pistons with reshaped valve tappets, crankcase ventilation holes, increased compression ratio and an optimized ECU. Designed to improve low to mid-range torque, these changes help achieve better throttle response and improved fuel economy at an estimated 8%. The new GSX-R loses the twin pipes and gets a new redesigned single exhaust contributing to more mid-range power and sheds 4.4 pounds off the bike. Additional improvements were made to the chassis, suspension and some minor changes to the styling include pin-striped wheels and color accents. More details on Suzuki’s flagship sport bike can be seen in our 2012 Suzuki GSX-R1000 First Look article and photo gallery.
V-Strom Dual Sport Models
Much of the buzz and talk at the dealer show revolved around the introduction of Suzuki’s new V-Strom 650 ABS and the V-Strom 1000 Dual Sport models. According to Suzuki analysis, a strong growth segment is the Adventure Touring market where competing manufacturers have been introducing new models and expanded product lines. The V-Strom 1000 remains virtually untouched for 2012 but the Adventure model is available with touring hard case saddlebags and topcase. Pricing on the V-Strom 1000 is $10,399 MSRP for the base model available in Pearl Mira Red/Black. The Adventure model goes for $10,999 and is offered in Pearl Nebular Black.
The Adventure model comes with aluminum saddle boxes, side accessory bars and adjustable windscreen.
Redesigned for 2012, the V-Strom 650 ABS was improved utilizing user research data which provided Suzuki with pertinent information directly from consumers testing the bike and making suggested changes. Suzuki has improved the V-Strom 650 ABS with a sleeker, lighter design that translates into better handling and looks. Improved wind buffeting and heat displacement keeps riders shielded from wind drag and rising heat from the engine. Comforts include an electronically controlled idle that automatically adjusts to the environment and an updated instrument cluster with hand controls. The bike loses 13 pounds and has new pistons, rings and cam combination offering a mid-range power delivery fitting for touring applications. Exclusive to the V-Strom 650 ABS and not available from competitors are the aluminum frame and swingarm plus the largest fuel tank in its class coming in at 5.3 gallons. Our contributing editor Frank Melling recently had the opportunity to test ride this new machine in our 2012 Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS First Ride article where you can read more on what this machine is all about.
Unveiled at the dealer show is the new Adventure model which appeals to the type of rider looking for a comfortable and affordable Dual Sport touring bike. Our very own Managing Editor, Bart Madson, is currently testing the Adventure model on the Blue Ridge Mountain Wee-Strom Adventure. Offered only in Glass Sparkle Black the Adventure model comes with large aluminum side cases, front accessory bars and an adjustable windscreen. MSRP for the Adventure model is $9799 while the standard V-Strom 650 ABS model has an MSRP of $8299 and is available in Metallic Fox Orange and Glass Sparkle Black.
With Adventure Touring becoming more popular, Suzuki is offering a new accessory line that caters to the needs of Dual Sport Adventure riders. Offering a host of upgrades for its V-Strom models, Suzuki offers hard side and top cases, accessory bars, windscreens and seats among other options. One unique accessory available for the V-Strom 650 ABS is two different sized seats other than the standard seat that comes with the bike with a set seat height of 835mm or 32.9 inches. The taller saddle offers 20mm more height while the other saddle sits 20mm lower, allowing riders to customize the bike to their comfort level. Other accessories include heated grips, hand guards, center stand, chain guard and an under cowling.
2012 Boulevard Cruiser Lineup
The Boulevard C50T Classic has a MSRP price tag of $7,999 making it one of the most affordable cruisers in its class.
Rod Lapusnak, Suzuki’s National Sales Manager, reviewed Suzuki’s success with its popular Boulevard cruiser lineup stating that Suzuki’s cruiser sales outpaced the competitors by 12.5% in 2011. With this in mind Suzuki introduced two new cruiser models, the Boulevard C50T Tourer and the Boulevard C50T Classic. The C50T Tourer is available in blue and white and comes with an adjustable windscreen, studded seats, white wall tires and large-capacity, textured-leather saddlebags with Boulevard emblems at an affordable $9499 MSRP. On the C50T Classic you get white wall tires and a studded seat that add to the vintage styling of this low cost cruiser with an MSRP of $7999.
Overall the atmosphere at the 2012 Suzuki dealer meeting was up-beat and optimistic. With economic times still on the down side, Suzuki was advocating for dealers to become more educated on Suzuki and actively get involved in sales training. Dealers have access to the Suzuki University Sales Academy, where sales reps learn more about Suzuki products, promotions and sales tactics through an incentive plan that pays out rewards and prizes for involvement. The new and improved models along with the low price points are what make Suzuki appealing to consumers and should give dealers an edge for 2012. For future motorcycle evaluations and the latest Suzuki news, be sure to check here at Motorcycle USA.