Historic drive: 35 years of Suzuki in Germany - a success story

... always a good game
For now 35 years Suzuki also markets in Germany
2015-06-10 11_06
35 years Suzuki in Germany

Already 1980, 25 years after the Suzuki brought the first car in Japan on the market, expanded the Japanese carmaker and was based in the Bavarian Oberschleißheim. The brand decided to build sales in the world's most demanding market to compete against the strongest competitors. The manufacturer caused a sensation with the LJ80 at the IAA in autumn 1979 as a Japanese small car and all-wheel specialist. To date, about 980.000 vehicles have been sold in Germany and the future can continue to hope for the 1 million mark. Suzuki will be celebrating the 35 anniversary in Germany with a series of promotions by the end of this year. Numerous models that will launch a round trip from dealer to dealer as exhibits will document the 35 years.

After the introduction of the “Eljot” LJ80 (1980) on the German market, the development of the dealer network began. Suzuki gave the sales partners at the time a lot of leeway to play an active part in making this car a cult car. The vehicle, originally designed for military purposes at the time, was quickly seen as a cool recreational vehicle and took the classic off-road vehicle out of its typical niche. Fully off-road, very spartan equipment, with 39 hp and an extremely light weight of 820 kilograms, the LJ80 has just found young buyers in Germany. The LJ3,20 was offered with a spare wheel at the rear and a length of just 80 meters. The selectable all-wheel drive and the intermediate gear with off-road gear and rear differential lock allow the little off-roader to drive confidently over gravel and mud today, as it was over 30 years ago. Two body variants were offered in Germany: the van with a closed body made of sheet steel and the convertible. Not a special offer for the time, because Suzuki called for DM 12.500 for the Eliot.

The LJ 80 was followed by the SJ series. With improved technology and new design, 1982 replaced the SJ 410 "Samurai" with the LJ 80 as best-selling four-wheel drive. With the SJ 410 Suzuki could correct some weaknesses of its predecessor and proved by more space and comfort that the vehicle can become adult. The SJ recalls its predecessors with its longitudinal rib grille and the round headlights, but it was a completely redesigned car. A folding rear seat allows for the first time even larger transports. The 1989 released on the German market SJ410 is the last vehicle of the SJ series. A new instrument front captivates with more functionality in the "samurai". With his petrol engine with 47 kW (64 PS) and diesel engine with 46 kW (46 PS) he was not only a car for the area and so joined this vehicle to the bestsellers.

Today's end product - the Vitara
Today's end product - the Vitara

Nearly 30 years after the start of the off-road vehicle production one could admire the Jimny. Because the 1988 first appeared Vitara clearly designed as a four-wheel drive vehicle with good comfort for normal road driving and the samurai now worked as a commercial vehicle, there was room for a new small four-wheel drive, which combines all the virtues of the previous LJ and SJ models. The 3,67 meter long Jimny, which was offered in the autumn 1998 at prices starting from the 21.900, bribed with the charm of its predecessors. Lead frame construction, solid axles front and rear - but now with coil springs - and a switchable four-wheel drive with Gelandeduktion were then and now a good recipe for success. Well-known was the engine, which worked in a similar form already in the SJ 413. In Jimny he was overworked and equipped with four-valve technology. At the same time convinced the Jimny with 59 kW (80 PS) at only 1,3 liters displacement. The synchronized transfer case allowed the four-wheel drive to be connected up to a speed of 100 km / h. After the debut of the closed version Suzuki 1999 handed over the Jimny convertible with soft top, 2004 follows for the first time a diesel engine with 1,5 liter displacement and 48 kW (65 PS), which was later increased to 63 kW (86 PS) and the Jimny with an average consumption made 6,1 liters into one of Germany's most economical off-road vehicles. The same horsepower reached after a power injection of the 1,3-liter petrol engine, which now had a variable valve timing and later was also available in combination with a four-speed automatic transmission. The open Jimny was removed after a few years from the program and offered the diesel to 2009. Overall, the Jimny sold since its launch until the end of 2014 72.088 times.

The fact that Suzuki was not only able to build fun vehicles for the terrain was proved by the "Cappuccino" published in 1994. Unfortunately, there was only a short interlude of exactly one year. Only those who were quick with their purchase decision, could get one of the 120 copies for Germany of the 3,30 meter short, two-seat micro-convertible. This ultra-light vehicle was available exclusively as a right-hand drive. The sensation on the Japanese fresh-air racer was his special four-way roof concept: Depending on which elements of the three-part hardtops you removed, the cappuccino was a very agile and 725 kg light coupe or full convertible. Alternatively, the Micro Roadster appeared as Targa or T-Bar. For a crisp sound made a three-cylinder turbo engine with intercooler. The 657 kW (46 PS) was powered by the extremely light all-aluminum 64 cc engine, which at 85 rated at 4.000 revolutions at 137 Newton meters at 12.000 km / h top speed. Among other things, the cappuccino demonstrated its sportiness with a tachometer scale reaching up to XNUMX rpm. So drove this particular roadster, there were either in red or silver in Germany, before the limited number of items on the German market was sold out. The standard equipment was previously extended to ABS and a limited slip differential.

Models such as the Vitara, Jimny or Swift, which came on the market at the end of the 80 or 90 years, are still bestsellers for Suzuki in Germany today. With customer-focused model maintenance and targeted product range renewal, the carmaker built a customer base that will already exceed the 2015 million mark of sold units with Suzuki in Germany in 1.

Current model range Suzuki in Germany: 

Model: Starting price:
Suzuki Celerio: € 9.690
Suzuki Swift: € 13.490
Suzuki Swift Sport 3 Doors: € 18.990
Suzuki Swift Sport 5 Doors: € 19.790
Suzuki SX4 S-Cross: € 19.490
Suzuki Vitara: € 17.990
Suzuki Jimny € 15.590


The Suzuki Cappuccino - driving fun machine
The Suzuki Cappuccino - driving fun machine
Photos in the article: Stefan Beckmann Cover photo: Stefan Beckmann
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