Five Star Suzuki of Altoona will continue to sell Suzuki automobiles, despite last week's announcement that American Suzuki Motor Corp. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and would cease selling automobiles in the United States as part of a plan to reorganize its business.
"My store will continue to be a Suzuki dealer and sell them as long as we have them," said owner Greg Sloan, a member of Suzuki's dealer advisory board who recently attended a meeting in California with American Suzuki. "They are telling us we will probably have Suzukis for quite some time to sell."
The company, based in Brea, Calif., is the sole distributor of Suzuki vehicles in the continental United States.
American Suzuki said it would focus on selling Suzuki motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and marine outboard engines.
It said it was exiting the car business in the United States because of slow sales, unfavorable foreign exchange rates and the high costs of complying with state and federal regulatory requirements. American Suzuki sold just 2,023 cars in the United States last month.
The bankruptcy does not involve the company's parent, Suzuki Motor of Japan.
"American Suzuki Motor Corp. distributes Suzuki products for Suzuki of Japan and sells them here in the states," Sloan said. "It isn't far fetched another distributor will step in."
Sloan said his dealership, which has been in Altoona since 1998, has plenty of new vehicles in stock.
"Both 2012 and 2013 new models are on the ground," Sloan said. "We are excited about the next couple of months. Suzuki will have some huge incentives."
American Suzuki said it had enough cash to operate during the reorganization and intended to honor all car warranties and buyback agreements.
"Suzuki is committed to honor the seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty. They have set funds aside to cover that. We will do the work at our store," Sloan said.
Steve Goldstein, co-owner of Five Star Suzuki in State College, did not return phone or email messages seeking comment, but he told the Centre Daily Times the dealership will not be closing, will increase its pre-owned inventory and is looking to picking up another auto brand.
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467. The Associated Press contributed to this story.