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Suzuki rings the changes at the helm

Strategising: Suzuki Australia general manager Tony Devers (pictured) is set to hand over the day-to-day running of the company’s car business to marketing manager Andrew Moore.

New planning role for Devers as Suzuki prepares for new-model era from 2015

Suzuki logo22 May 2014

SUZUKI Australia has shuffled its top management as it lays the groundwork for a new pitch at mainstream status with the help of improved supply and fresh car and motorcycle models.

From June 1, general manager for the past seven years Tony Devers will shift into the newly created position of general manager corporate strategy across all Suzuki products, including cars, motorcycles and marine, while car marketing manager Andrew Moore will move up to take the tiller of the car business as general manager automobile.

Mr Devers – a former senior manager in sales and marketing at both Honda and Volvo – told GoAuto that the company was preparing to move into a new era of growth and thus needed changes at both the corporate and dealer level to handle projected higher volumes.

He said new products such as the iV-4 compact SUV and Alto-replacing Celerio light hatch – both due in the first half of next year – and four or five new motorcycles scheduled to arrive in the next 12 months, required planning to cope with higher volumes and a broader customer base.

Mr Devers said Suzuki had taken a conservative approach during the global financial crisis, meaning that while the global company had remained profitable, the new-model development pipeline had been somewhat dry in recent years.

“Suzuki has now loosened up the purse strings and the new models are starting to come, so the company really needs to position itself for the volumes they will generate, both at corporate and dealer level,” he said.

Suzuki also recently lost its motorcycle general manager, Perry Morrison – another former Honda staffer – and that would require changes within the two-wheel division.

So far this year, Suzuki car sales are down by a third, with all models except the APV in negative territory. A shift of production for the top-selling Swift small car from Thailand to Japan meant a severe stock shortage in the first half of this year, while a shortage of shipments of the new S-Cross from Hungary also upset sales plans in its launch phase.

This year, the Jimny 4x4 returns to the market after an enforced absence due to a lack of electronic stability control, in an update to the range.

And then Suzuki enters a big 2015 with the arrival if the iV-4 – a spiritual successor to the popular Vitara that was discontinued in 2000 – and then the arrival of the Thai-built Celerio that will replace the Indian-built Alto.

Mr Devers told GoAuto early this month that Suzuki would introduce at least one new model a year over the next five years.

The staff changes at Suzuki were announced by Suzuki Australia managing director Mac Kato who said Mr Devers was moving into a new and broader-based role.

“Tony's wealth of experience and strong ties to the network and media will help to refresh our overall business structure,” he said.

“I'm equally pleased to announce that Andrew Moore has been promoted to general manager automobile, effective from the same date.”“Andrew has had a very strong grounding with seven years’ experience in the automotive division and has a highly competent and stable team to support the dealer network.

“As Suzuki Australia heads into another era of growth, with the introduction of new models, we are keen to develop the business and position Suzuki Australia and its products, to reflect the proven strengths of the global Suzuki strategy.”

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