016_Naoki_Hirooka_2Motor Cycle Monthly spoke to Naoki Hirooka, Manager, Suzuki Sales & Planning Dept at the recent V-Strom work launch…


“The V-Strom was developed for the road because our surveys showed that 99 per cent of owners never go off-road. Maybe in the future we’d consider a bike with more off-road ability but our first focus is on the road. We aren’t aiming at the [BMW R1200] GS, we are focusing in between 1200cc and 650cc, not just with horsepower and weight but also pricewise it will be in between them.

“Why such a gap since the old V-Strom? We are very sorry that we missed out in this class. Unfortunately in 2009 we had a very bad economic crisis and also the Japanese yen had too high appreciation. That was very tough on us. Suzuki is known as a good product at a good price. We couldn’t raise prices a crazy amount, so we continued development and waited until the right time came. Now the exchange rate has come down to a good level.

“We are back on track with this model and there are more to come. Of course the market is booming in Asia or China, those are the big numbers, but actually our profit comes from Europe. This year we showed an increase on the bigger bikes, and overall we are making a profit. The big bikes are still the profit-centre of Suzuki.”

Tony Carter

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