After A Year Off, Suzuki Releases New Motorcycle Models In US





Suzuki is bringing a new lineup of motorcycles into the United States for 2011 after taking 2010 off due to weak demand, a bad economy and a glut of unsold 2009 models. The economy still hasn’t turned around but it is unclear whether demand and/or inventory situation has changed. Maybe it has. Maybe Suzuki just feels it can’t be seen by American riders as giving up on the market. Brand loyalty and market share is important in the industry, so maybe Suzuki is just willing to exacerbate the glut and gut things out until Americans start spending again like only they can. There’s also the fact that this is Suzuki’s 50th anniversary year of international racing, and you don’t want to waste a PR opportunity like a semi-centennial.

According to a July 19 Suzuki press release, the 2011 motorcycle models will include new versions of the V-Strom, the Hayabusa, the Boulevard S40 and M109, the RM-Z250, the RM-Z450, and the TU250.

It’s not just Suzuki’s U.S. market that’s suffering in this drawn out economic downturn. Most motorcycle manufacturers’ numbers have plummeted, and dealers have to be struggling. Who knows, maybe the market will turn around (although it doesn’t seem like it). And maybe Suzuki won’t release new U.S. models again in 2012. Maybe an every other year thing will become the norm. I, for one, am staying tuned.

Ford releases details on 2011 Shelby GT500 Mustang

Ford 2011 Shelby GT 500

2011 Ford Shelby GT 500

On February 8th, Ford Motor Company released details on the 2011 Shelby GT500 Mustang.  Ford Special Vehicles Team (STV) made several significant changes to the Shelby GT500, showing their determination to improve upon an already impressive car.  For starters, the Shelby GT500 gets 10 horsepower increase, upping the number from 540 to 550.  This power increase comes from the new all-aluminum engine manufactured for the Shelby GT500.  Not only does the new engine boost performance, it also helps the Shelby GT500 shed some weight.  102 pounds are lost by using aluminum instead of cast iron for the engine block.  The power increase plus the weight loss signals that STV are trying to get as much improvement in performance as possible.

Ford released a couple of other important numbers in terms of performance: the Shelby GT500 delivers 23 mpg on the highway and 15 mpg in the city.  While these numbers are only a 1 mpg improvement over the 2010 Shelby GT500, they give the car a combined mpg that allows it to avoid the gas guzzler tax ($1000 for the 2010 Shelby GT500).  Ford clearly considered all of the numbers while building the 2011 Shelby GT500, and make no mistake they improved on some big ones.