HENDERSON, Nevada. – American Suzuki Motor Corporation plans to increase the number
of US dealers by 25%, according to Automotive News.

It quotes American Suzuki vice president for automotive sales, Gary Anderson,
as saying that the company plans to boost its network to 500 dealers in two
years, up from the 400 it expects on stream by the end of December.

The company is likely to add dealers in the Midwest states, North and South
Dakota, Minnesota and California, Anderson reportedly told press attending the
launch of Suzuki’s new seven-passenger XL-7 SUV.

Automotive News said that American Suzuki will shift 65,000 vehicles this year,
up from 49,888 in 1999. Sales to the end of October reached 52,836 units, with
sport-utilities accounting for 66.3%. The Grand Vitara is most popular.

The new ‘US-size’ XL-7 should boost sales to 81,500 units, about half way to
Suzuki’s target of 1% of the U.S. market.

"To reach that goal we will be introducing a consistent stream of new
products designed to appeal to American tastes and lifestyles," Automotive
News quoted Rick Suzuki, president of American Suzuki as saying. Another new
vehicle would be launched at the New York auto show next April.

The current Suzuki emphasis in the US is on sport-utilities but Anderson reportedly
said that the company will not change its strategy with cars, the 1.3-litre
Swift and the 1.6- and 1.8-liter Esteem.

"The car market in this country is still very large, and cars represent
about 50% of Suzuki’s worldwide sales," Anderson said, according to Automotive

"We’re not just a truck company or an SUV company. We will continue to
market and build our sales volume in cars."