At its annual dealer meeting, held this year in Sin City, Suzuki came clean with its dealers, admitting a failure to supply enough product to sell in '08. To make up for its miscalculations, Team S brought out a heavily revised Gixxer Thou, new Boulevard M90, a stripped down and styled-up version of the venerable SV650 called the Gladius (SFV650), and in an obvious attempt to capitalize on current economic woes, including those at the pump, the retro-looking TU250X rounded-out Suzuki's headliners.
The underpinning theme throughout the opening evening of the conference was what seemed like a constant apology from Suzuki's top Japanese brass, and a promise that the company would regain the trust and confidence of its dealers in the coming year. I was rather puzzled by this prostrating position, and came to learn that Suzuki reeled in its production forecasts last year in order to ride out the building wave of economic sorrows, attempting to be conservative and avoid overstocked showrooms. At the time what seemed like good, safe decision making was met with the unpredictable pain at the pump, and the subsequent demand from consumers for more economical modes of transpo.
For all its experience, Suzuki, like so many of us, was caught off-guard by rising fuel costs. The end result? Dealers were left hanging. Demand for two-wheelers was up but the supply of Suzukis was down, apparently way down.
More: 2009 Suzuki Dealer Show Report