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Life after Suzuki: Dealership expects to acquire another car franchise soon

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, at 5:59 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, at 10:42 p.m.

Scott Pitman said Wednesday he expects his top-selling U.S. dealership to acquire another existing car franchise in the next month as he makes plans for life after Suzuki.

Last month, American Suzuki Motor Corp. entered bankruptcy reorganization and said it would no longer sell its Japanese parent’s line of cars, trucks and SUVs in the United States. As part of the reorganization, American Suzuki will continue to sell its motorcycles, ATVs and boat motors in the U.S.

American Suzuki’s reorganization prompted Pitman — whose Suzuki of Wichita dealership has sold the most cars and trucks of any U.S. Suzuki auto dealer for three years running — to search for an alternative new car franchise.

He won’t say whose franchise he’s buying, but he expects to make an announcement soon.

“I would hope to make an announcement in the next 30 days,” Pitman said. “It will be an acquisition.”

In the meantime, Pitman said he has been buying new Suzukis from other dealers to keep new car sales activity going at his lot at 11610 E. Kellogg. He expects to receive 297 more new Suzukis from the manufacturer any day now.

“We sold 213 new Suzukis in November, and we are scrambling to buy more cars,” he said.

In an e-mailed statement Wednesday to The Eagle, American Suzuki said it saw a 22 percent year-over-year sales increase in November, which it attributed to “excellent incentives in place.”

American Suzuki also said in the statement that deliveries of new Suzuki automobiles continue, but “we believe all available inventory will be sold by around the end of the first quarter of 2013.”

Suzuki of Wichita has agreed to terms of American Suzuki’s Dealer Settlement Agreement. That agreement provides for Suzuki of Wichita to continue providing service to Suzuki owners, and for it to be able to receive parts, even after the dealership changes to selling a different brand.

Pitman said American Suzuki has worked hard “to do the right thing” for customers and dealers throughout the bankruptcy.

“I never doubted they would do that,” he said of American Suzuki.

American Suzuki said in a news release Wednesday that it has reached similar settlement agreements with 213 of its 219 U.S. dealers.

Reach Jerry Siebenmark at 316-268-6576 or jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com.

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