Resulting 2016, the Japanese company Suzuki has sold in Russia 4’201 cars. This is a very modest result, while throughout the world the company sold 2’719’024 cars in January-November 2016.
However, the Russian owner of the Suzuki is not ignored, he is important for the manufacturer, and the company plans to development it in Russia in 2017 across a number of areas. This was told in an interview with cultural and political magazine “E-Vesti” Irina Zelentsova, head of Sales, marketing and dealer development department of Suzuki Motor Rus.
E-Vesti: We would like to know how evaluate the end of 2016 for the Russian auto market and for Suzuki in particular?
Irina Zelentsova: In General, the results coincided with our prediction. Last year, we said that the market will be approximately 1’450’000, and it did. Our Director has made a correct prediction. It’s probably good for the Russian market as a whole. There was a decline, but it was not so deep, it have levelled off. May be we have found some minimum level.
For Suzuki brand, we estimate the 2016 result in different ways. We had the task to maintain the dealer network – we have kept. We had also the task to keep the 0.4%-0.8% market share – the task failed, but because of the objective factors. But it doesn’t matter, the next year we have three models, we plan to increase the sales of more than 4-5% due to the models, and because of the general market growth together with special programs and promotions, which we will work out.
E-Vesti: What novelties will you bring?
Irina Zelentsova: We see an opportunity to bring to Russia Suzuki Ignis and Suzuki Baleno. We consider business models for them now, we estimate business plans for these models. If they show a positive result, then we will bring the cars to Russia, they are available to us and we would like to extend our range.
In the meantime, we are based on the fact scenario that we will sell Suzuki Vitara, SX4, Jimny, a sports version of the Vitara, 1.6 turbocharged SX4. These models are in our view, they are very promising, sold steadily and surely. I think they should give us an increase next year.
E-Vesti: For whom may be interested in buying Suzuki Ignis?
Irina Zelentsova: Suzuki Ignis is a unique car. On the one hand, this is the sport utility vehicle (SUV), on the other hand, this is a very compact car. This is the so-called A-SUV segment, as we call it among themselves. He is in demand in Japan and in Europe. A compact car is good for large cities for parking, for regions with high clearance, all-wheel drive capability. It is unique in its segment, I think it will be a success.
E-Vesti: It seems to be saying that these Japanese cars have a client never leaving them?
Irina Zelentsova: Yes, this is so. In quality our vehicles are very strong, it’s Japanese and really a) very reliable, b) a solid car. Our customers are loyal, they are, indeed, special. They are lovers of precisely this style of car. It is very difficult to change them on European brands. We have examples when, in connection with the economic situation in the family, a client with Suzuki has switched to a different brand, but he then returned back to Suzuki, when the opportunity appeared. That is, we are fairly well embedded in the family, people become followers of the brand return to us and this, of course, we are very pleased.
E-Vesti: What has the greatest effect on the demand: consumer confidence, real wages, or something else?
Irina Zelentsova: First of all, it is important if customers have the ability to spend the money on buying a new car.
E-Vesti: The second vehicle you launch, what is it?
Irina Zelentsova: Suzuki Baleno. This is new B-segment vehicle that is the most sensitive for price positioning, so we very carefully consider the price, asked the manufacturer to come forward in terms of trim levels, specs. We do our best, because we also want to see it on the Russian market.
E-Vesti: What are your expectations for 2017?
Irina Zelentsova: We are planning 10% growth in sales in 2017. We want to sell 5’000 cars.
E-Vesti: How today feels the customer of Suzuki? I think that Japanese vehicle owner in general buy a new car after 7 years?
Irina Zelentsova: Differently. Of course, today everyone, and we are no exception, the lifetime is lengthened, and the customer defers the purchase. The average exploitation period is 5 years, and then the vehicle is replaced. For us it is probably a good indicator of model updates, which enables to offer new car, and also to make trade-in offers, extended warranty. All we aim at is a maximum 5 year period when people change the car.
E-Vesti: You across the world developed many new technologies, management, and machines. This is implemented in Japan and in other countries. What technologies will come to Russia with the Suzuki Ignis and Suzuki Baleno?
Irina Zelentsova: Of course, Ignis and Baleno are the brand’s new models. It uses all the modern technologies that have already been introduced in Japan and Europe. With these machines comes fuel efficiency, safety. For us it is very important. Despite the fact that at the moment the Russian client is still less looks at the fuel consumption, when the difference is around two times probably he starts to wonder about this. When the growth of current prices for gasoline, for fuel is evident. Same important for us are ease and comfort, this is clear to everyone.