Citing growth in sales of seven per cent year to date and 14 per cent retention of the car & SUV markets up to October 2012, Duncan Stewart said Suzuki Jamaica is no way affected by the bankruptcy filings of Suzuki America.
The American company has filed for bankruptcy protection in order to restructure.
Stewart's Auto Sales is the authorised Suzuki dealer in Jamaica, holding the dealership for the last 30 years.
"We have no relationship with Suzuki America, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Suzuki Japan. Suzuki Jamaica is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Stewart family. Our vehicles and parts are sourced directly from Japan," Duncan Stewart, a director of Stewart's Auto, said on Thursday.
American Suzuki Motor Corp on November 5 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection saying it would cease selling automobiles in the United States as part of a plan to restructure its business and citing in court documents debts and liabilities ranging between US$100 million and US$500 million.
Stewart said that the local operation, although affected by new taxation levied in the last Jamaican budget, remains solvent.
"The main difference between America and Jamaica is the market taste. Americans prefer larger vehicles, while Jamaicans like the smaller vehicles," he said.
Year to date for 2012, the company has sold 569 Suzuki units, which represents seven per cent growth over the similar period last year.
"We have been growing from 2009, but since the budget of 2012 the market has been going down. We expect flat performance for 2013," Stewart said.
A release issued by Suzuki Motor Corporation, through Stewart's Auto, said it "reaffirms its commitment to the continued development and advancement of Suzuki vehicles in the Caribbean region, including Jamaica."
It quoted Brent Murphy, general manager of the Authorised Suzuki Distributor for the Caribbean region, saying that in general sales in the Caribbean were strong, with the region dubbed, 'the golden territory' with exemplary market response to the 2012 Swift and 2013 Grand Vitara.
Stewart noted that Suzuki Jamaica is now "number two in unit sales" and that "market share is in the top five in the world."
The top Suzuki seller locally is the Grand Vitara. The three-door model retails at a starting price of J$2.94 million and the five-door at J$3.43 million.
Stewart noted that the company's bottom line and profits remained strong even with J$120 million spent over the last three years on moving the Suzuki operation to South Camp Rd campus; renovating showrooms and workshops ; investing in training staff and improving tooling and upgrading our systems.
"The expenditure is an investment so it has not affected profits. However, the increase in import taxes on spare parts, the increase in taxation on certain models of cars, the downturn in sales since the May 2012 budget has affected profitability negatively," he said.
"The overall car business has been trending down since the budget in May 2012. Consumer confidence is low. The factors affecting vehicle purchases are interest rates, exchange rates, external inflation affecting economic inputs to the car makers and the state of the Jamaican economy."
Stewart said sales growth in 2013, while expected, will be tempered by the market conditions, so the company "will concentrate on improving the service delivery to our customers and improving our after-sales business," he said.