Suzuki has followed Honda by pulling out of a key motorsport activity.

The small car specialist on Monday said it would suspend its FIA World Rally Championship involvement from 2009. The company contested the 2008 season with two SX4 WRCs.

“In responding to the contraction of the automotive sales caused by recent global economic turmoil, Suzuki has been promptly taking possible countermeasures including the reassessment of its global production output,” the automaker said in a statement. “The company, however, foresees the shrinking trend in longer periods of time rather than a short-term phenomenon.

“As a result, Suzuki [decided] to suspend the WRC activities from 2009.”

It started in the Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC) in 2002 with the Ignis Super 1600 and moved up to the WRC in 2008.

It said the rally involvement had “positive effects” on product development, marketing and brand image, especially in Europe.

Suzuki would continue to support customers in the JWRC with Swift Super 1600 machines, and local motor sport such as the Swift Cup in Europe, it said.

Honda Motor earlier this month said 2008 would be its last season in F1 motor racing, due to deteriorating business conditions. This hit hardest here in Britain, where the 800-worker F1 team is based.