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Dec 15, 2008

Suzuki quits World Rally scene as sales dip

Japanese carmaker Suzuki Motor Corporation has pulled out of next year's FIA World Rally Championship citing a drop in sales due to the global financial crisis.

The Suzuki decision was released in a statement on Monday, 10 days after Honda, another major Japanese car manufacturer, pulled its team out of Formula One.

"In responding to the contraction of the automotive sales caused by recent global economic turmoil, Suzuki has been promptly taking possible countermeasures," the statement said.

"To secure its own business environment for tomorrow, the organization reviews every aspect of the operations and decided to focus on the core business functions such as the manufacturing system, environment technologies, and development of new-generation powertrains. As a result, Suzuki concluded to suspend the WRC activities from 2009."

Suzuki, who started their involvement with international rally competition with the 2002 Junior World Rally Championship, entered two SX4 WRCs in the 2008 World Rally Championship.

The team finished fifth of six teams in the constructors championship and the Suzuki Sport team drivers were 12th and 13th in the individual standings.

"The entry to JWRC and WRC brought a great deal of positive effects on the product development and marketing activities, nurturing the high sporty automotive brand image, especially in Europe," the company's statement said.

"Suzuki will continue to support the customers who are participating in the JWRC with Swift Super 1600 machines, and local motor sport such as Swift Cup in Europe and the rest of the world."

Honda made the shock decision to pull out of F1 on December 5, a day after announcing it was cutting jobs in Britain and Japan and reducing its annual production of consumer cars because of continued plunging vehicle demand.

Source : CNN
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