Suzuki Motor Corporation celebrate 100th anniversary

Suzuki’s history goes all the way back to 1909, when Michio Suzuki founded the Suzuki Loom Works, which is the precursor of the Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Company founded on 15 March 1920 in the present-day Hamamatsu, Shizuoka.

Since then, Suzuki has expanded its business from looms to motorcycles, automobiles, outboard motors, ATV’s and many other products, always adapting to the trend of the times.

Suzuki Power Free
Suzuki’s Power Free was a game changer for the brand

1952 saw the introduction of the Power Free, Suzuki’s first 36 cc auxiliary bicycle engine, designed to allow easier cycling thanks to the addition of an engine, and aligning with Japan removing the licence requirement on motorised bicycles, in a move that would prove a massive success.

A year later the Diamond Free would be released, a more powerful 60cc version offering two-horsepower, with production quickly surpassing Suzuki’s projections.

After changing the name to Suzuki Motor Co., Ltd. in 1954, the brand launched the Suzulight, the first mass-produced minivehicle in Japan, alongside many other products which are developed focusing on customers. The company name was changed to “Suzuki Motor Corporation” in 1990 in view of its business expansion and globalisation.

Suzuki Isle of Man TT
The Isle of Man TT would become an arena of success in 1962

By 1960 Suzuki would enter the Isle of Man TT race for the first time, and two years later, in 1962 Ernst Degner would claim the 50cc victory as the brand ramped up R&D in creating a suitably competitive race machine. In 1963 Suzuki took both 50cc and 125cc wins, with another 50cc victory in 1964.

1975 would be another notable point in history for Suzuki as they introduced the first rotary motorcycle, the RE-5, a bike that did not prove particularly successful, but which contributed to the development of many other models.

Suzuki Rotary RE
Suzuki’s RE-5 rotary motorcycle

In 1985 the Suzuki GSX-R750 made an impact in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the French team of Guy Bertin, Bernard Millet, and Philippe Guichon taking victory on a Suzuki, with the brand joining the World Grand Prix in the same year.

Suzuki Hours of Le Mans
The Suzuki GSX-R750 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1985

1989 would see Suzuki achieve a breakthrough in what we now call MotoGP, finishing fourth, followed up by second in 1990, third in 1991 and fourth in 1992, before claiming overall victory with Kevin Schwantz in 1993.

Suzuki MotoGP Kevin Schwantz
Kevin Schwantz

Fast forward to 2015 and Suzuki made its return to MotoGP, this time with the GSX-RR, a move which would be rewarded with a race win at the British GP in 2016.

The journey of 100 years hasn’t been easy, with iconic vehicles like the RE-5 not having the sales success hoped for, but still contributing to the evolution of the brand’s offerings, while a pause in 2012 from MotoGP racing due to financial constraints are just to examples of the challenges faced. To overcome a number of crises since the foundation, Suzuki proudly boasts its members have united as one and continued to make the company thrive.

Suzuki GXS RR MotoGP
Suzuki rejoined MotoGP in 2015 with the GSX-RR

Suzuki has grown to be a company with many fans across the globe, with its unchanging spirit of manufacturing passed on to each new generation, with March 16 marking the beginning of Suzuki’s second century.

Suzuki Australia was incorporated on 3rd January 1980 – distributing motorcycle, marine and power products- NSW, VIC, ACT, SA, TAS and NT.

In 1990 Suzuki Australia took control of marine distribution in WA

1994 Suzuki Australia purchased MW Motors and started distributing automobiles in Victoria and Tasmania.

1995 Suzuki Australia took over distribution of motorcycle distribution in WA and QLD. In 1998 Suzuki Australia took over automobile distribution in WA.

Chairman Osamu Suzuki & President Toshihiro Suzuki

“This year we are celebrating our 100th anniversary. On 15th of March, 1920, Michio Suzuki founded the Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Co. in Hamamatsu. Since then, we have expanded our business from looms to motorcycles, automobiles, outboard motors, ATV’s and others, always adapting to the trend of the times as well as domestic and global markets. Your kind support at all times is truly the greatest factor that has enabled us to always be close to our customers’ daily lives and achieve the commemorative 100th anniversary. All members of Suzuki Motor Corporation take this as an important milestone to reaffirm the founder’s philosophy of ‘focusing on customers’ and strive to deliver products to customers across the globe. This year also marks the beginning of the next century, and we all are committed to achieve even greater business performance in such important year. We sincerely appreciated your continuous support.”

suzuki th anniversary
100 years of Suzuki Motor Corporation celebrated

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary, the 100th anniversary special website can be viewed on the Global Suzuki website, for a more in depth look at the company’s history, check it out – (link)