Suzuki Auto Files Chapter 11, Pulls Out of U.S. Market

2012 Suzuki

Suzuki will focus new car sales efforts on other shores.

Goodbyes are never fun but sometimes they’re imposed upon us.  That’s the case with the announcement this week that American Suzuki Motor Corporation has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will discontinue the sale of new cars in the U.S. market.

As a Suzuki dealership, we’re especially bummed.  The automaker is recognized around the globe for its quality and, while struggling to gain a foothold in the U.S. has outsold many other well-known brands elsewhere in the world, even topping Honda sales in Japan.  Chuck Butler, owner and founder for Butler Auto Group, says, “We all know what a fine product Suzuki brought to the American market and, it is unfortunate that these international financial factors impacted the profitability of American Suzuki Motors overall.”  He adds that Butler will continue to offer Suzuki service and parts, and will honor all customer warranties until expired.

Suzuki’s decision affects automobiles only;  Motorcycle and marine engine business will stay unchanged.   While that’s some consolation we’re still sad to know we’ll be taking no more new deliveries of such fan favorites as the Kizashi or the towable Grand Vitara.   So, farewell Suzuki.  We’re glad to have known you.

Look for liquidation prices to be posted on Butler Suzuki stock in the near future.  For a walk down Suzuki memory lane visit


Suzuki Forenza/Reno Recall


Possible headlight issues have Suzuki recalling more than 100,000 Forenza and Reno models.  The company says a faulty wiring connection could result in the headlamps’ failure to operate which could plunge a driver into darkness.  The recall, which starts September 2012, affects certain 2004-2006 Forenza models and 2005-2006 Reno models.  Owners will be notified and directed to a Suzuki dealer to have the affected wired reconnected, free of charge.

For more information or to find out whether your vehicle is affected, contact Suzuki at 1-714-996-7040 and reference recall campaign “NU”.

(Source:,  NHTSA)

Suzuki S-Cross Crossover Concept to Debut Fall 2012

sketch of Suzuki S-Cross Crossover Concept

Suzuki S-Cross Crossover Concept

Suzuki’s generating buzz around the debut of a concept car that could find its way into production. The S-Cross crossover concept will be unveiled at the 2012 Paris Motor Show this fall. Suzuki’s apparently being purposely vague in its description otherwise the official press release wouldn’t characterize the S-Cross design as “Emotion x Quality x Aerodynamics”. The company’s released a handful of sketches but, for a clear look at the S-Cross you’ll have to wait until the press conference scheduled for September 27th.

(Source: Suzuki)

Butler Auto Group Makes Oregon Business Magazine’s List of ‘Top 150 Private Companies’

Butler Auto Group is proud to be one of five Jackson County businesses named to Oregon Business Magazine’s annual list of the ‘Top 150 Private Companies’. The list published in the July 2012 edition ranks Butler as 114th among companies that claim less than $50-million dollars a year in revenue. That’s ten spots higher than last year. Butler has been a regular on the ‘Top 150’ list since 2000. Thank you to everyone who helped us get – and stay – there!

Congratulations go out to the handful of other Jackson County firms that made the rankings. They include Harry and David Holdings (#20), Sherm’s Thunderbird Market (#41), Combined Transport (#68), and Cascade Wood Products (#104). Klamath County window and door manufacturer Jeld-Wen hangs on to the top spot.

The 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara: Tow It!

We have something of a situation on our hands. It seems demand for quality “tow behind” cars, like Suzukis, is high while supply is, shall we say, out of sync with demand. The good news is Butler Suzuki’s coming to the rescue by offering an inventory that includes the new 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitara!

The Grand Vitara, which is available in 4-wheel drive, is popular among RVers because it can be flat-towed, that is, towed with all four wheels on the ground, without racking up odometer miles. The fact that it gets an estimated 26 mpg on the highway once unhooked from the RV doesn’t hurt, either. Suzuki calls the Vitara an “all access pass to planet Earth.” Basically, it goes everywhere your RV can’t.

So, while, the good news is we can now offer 2012 Suzuki Grand Vitaras, the bad news is we only have *two* of them. But that’s two more than yesterday. And two more RVs that’ll soon be sporting the must-have tow-behind car of the season.

Winter Driving Kit

The holiday travel season is upon us which means it’s also time to prepare for inclement weather. We on the West Coast may not see frequent snowstorms – at least in the valleys – but that doesn’t mean we’re not at risk of getting stuck out on the open road. So, in the interest of survival, let’s revisit the idea of a Winter Driving Kit. Here’s what ODOT suggests you in your vehicle at all times:

Make sure your vehicle is stocked with the following:

  • Rechargeable flashlight
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Extra food and water
  • Flares
  • Tools: jack, lug wrench, shovel
  • Road maps
  • Blanket/sleeping bag(s)
  • Extra warm clothes, boots, hat and gloves
  • First aid kit
  • Pocket knife
  • Matches or lighter
  • Battery jumper cables
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Paper towels
  • Extra washer fluid
  • Chains or traction tires
  • A full fuel tank

Source (and for more on winter driving):

Drive safely!

Oh, no… Snow! Everything You and Your Vehicle Need for Winter Driving

Snow levels in Southern Oregon are forecast to drop to their lowest so far this season over the next 24 hours. Whether your plans are to drive north for the UO Duck game, south to warmer climes, or just around town, you’ll want your vehicle ready to handle the cold, and potentially slick, streets. In the interest of physical safety and peace of mind, here’s a list of links to help you and your car, truck or SUV weather winter driving conditions.

Winterizing your vehicle:

Driving in snow and ice:

Studded Tires, Traction Tires and Chains
(Oregon’s studded tire season started November 1st and runs through March 31st.)

Oregon’s chain law:

Chain requirements:

Traction tires:

Tire reviews:

Up-to-the-minute local weather conditions:

Interstate 5 Siskiyou Pass roadcam:

Interstate 5 Sexton Pass roadcam:

Interstate 5 at Hilt, CA roadcam:

U.S. Highway 99 at Hayes Hill Summit roadcam:

For the Love of Trucks

It’s not really explainable, this love affair some of us have with trucks. Sure, we could describe the view, the thrill of riding up high, the rush of being literally “above it all”. We could gush about all the space we have to spread out in and store stuff. We could point to the toys we can haul, to the goodies we can carry in the bed. We could talk confidently about the power! The torque! We could even sit back, gaze adoringly at our rig, and sigh at the sheer beauty of the thing. But none of these makes a complete argument.

This is not to say that I don’t fully appreciate cars. I have enjoyed the handful Butler’s allowed me to “test”. I’ve even owned one (Just one. A loooong time ago). But driving a car feels to me like wearing someone else’s shoes; they get the job done but they don’t fit quite right.

Science would prove me wrong but, I’m convinced “truck love” is in our DNA. Not everyone is born with it and, if you don’t have it you never will. Yes, to *drive* a truck is to make a choice. To *love* a truck is simply a state of being.

Road Trip: The Agony and the Ecstasy

‘Tis the season for that most American of summertime activities: the end-of-the-season, last-fling-before-school-starts road trip! (Why we love them so much: Who among us doesn’t have a story about the perils of hitting the road with the people we profess to love the most – whether relatives or friends? My memories are of the 13-year old me narrowly avoiding being left on the side of the road. It sounds harsh but the reality is that after nearly 2000 miles of reading every card in the Trivial Pursuit Game (the Genus
Edition… in case you were wondering) *out loud* on a family drive to South Dakota, I’m lucky to have been allowed in the car for the return trip home. Or, on that same route a few years later, the certainty with which I knew we were all going to die when our car overheated and stalled in the Nevada desert. It was hours before we could flag down another driver for help. Heck, it was hours before another driver even happened by. The midafternoon sun was brutal as vultures circled menacingly overhead. At least that’s how I remember it.

In the end, though, my family bonded over the long hours cooped up in a small space together. We learned to rely on each other, we learned tolerance… we even learned how to create our own fun, imminent disaster or no.

We’d love to hear *your* stories… about the automotive meltdowns, accidental side trips, and the characters you almost certainly met along the way. In the meantime, here’s a
link to a collection of road trip comics to keep you entertained: Happy travels!

Butler Supports “Red Shirt Fridays”

In the same way that people sometimes start to look like their pets, have you ever noticed how co-workers often dress in similar ways? It used to happen all the time when I worked in television news … some days all our anchors and reporters would wear the same colors. It wasn’t like we planned it… we just ended up on the same wavelength and started making similar choices.

So, that’s kinda what I thought was going on around the Ford and Acura dealerships when every so often I’d notice everyone matched. What didn’t occur to me was that the pattern was consistent: every Friday most of the sales and service staff would wear red. That fact floated around in the recesses of my brain, something to ask about if and when the question made its way into my consciousness and out my mouth.

But I didn’t have to ask (apparently, we DO mind read around here!) Out of the blue, Ford Service Manager Gary Neal sent me an email. The subject line read, “FYI” and the message was brief: “Shannon, Just in case you were wondering why most of the guys wear red shirts on Fridays.” He’d included the web address Now I know Red Shirt Fridays are all about showing support for American troops overseas. The idea is that troops who feel supported have higher morale. Higher morale translates into better performance. Better performance increases the odds of survival. The more we do on this side of the ocean to show our appreciation for our men and women in uniform, the more they have an advantage in the fight.

To be honest, I was a little surprised when Gary’s email came through. I’ve been with Butler for half a year now and nobody’s said a word about Red Shirt Fridays. But, as you know, actions speak louder than words… and I really dig what Gary and the other guys’ actions have been saying. I wonder if it’s a coincidence that his email came in the week before Memorial Day… but I know it won’t be when, this Friday, I start looking a little more like my co-workers in red.