SPH General Manager for Automobile Shuzo Hoshikura: Sincere communication is important

In Photo: Executives of Suzuki Philippines celebrate the opening of the Suzuki auto dealership in Pasig and the first stand-alone 3S site in the city. Suzuki is the only integrated automobile and motorcycle company in the country. Leading the ribbon-cutting are (from left) Francisco de la Cruz, general manager, Suzuki ANC; Normino Mojika, managing director and treasurer, Suzuki Philippines; Anthony Cheng, Suzuki ANC president; Hiroshi Suzuki, Suzuki Philippines president; Shuzo Hoshikura, Suzuki Auto Division general manager; and Mike Tan, EVP Treasury, Suzuki Philippines.

THE automotive industry in the Philippines is said to be growing by leaps and bounds. In July this year a joint report of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. and Truck Manufacturers Association showed continued expansion by achieving year-on-year growth of 18.5 percent.

According to the report, the industry sold 24,569 vehicles that month, up 18.5 percent from 20,730 vehicles sold in the corresponding month in 2014.

July 2015 held the record of having the biggest number of units sold, bringing the year-to-date total to 156,034 units, up 20 percent over sales of 129,687 units a year earlier. The previous month’s sale topped the June performance at 24,185 units by a modest 2 percent.

All categories recorded growth: The passenger-car category sold 10,221 units, garnering an almost 23- percent increase over the 8,339 units sold in July 2014. This is also an increase of 4 percent compared with the June 2015 sales of 9,840 units.

For commercial vehicles, the segment gained 16 percent, having sold 14,348 units versus 12,391 a year earlier. Commercial vehicles I and II (Asian utility vehicles and sport-utility vehicles) also pushed their growth, with sales of 4,709 and 8,798, respectively.

Moreover, the heavy-duty vehicles category performed remarkably, with 127 units sold, compared with 30 units in the same month last year and 101 units in June 2015, the report said.

More recently, for the month of December, the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (Avid) expressed another strong double-digit growth in 2016.

Avid President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo told reporters on December 3 the group of importers and distributors is seen recording at least a 30-percent growth in sales next year.

While this could be slower than the expected 55-percent hike in Avid sales for the entire 2015, it would still be better compared to the performance of the entire Philippine automotive industry. Agudo said the industry-wide sales were forecast to grow by 22 percent in 2016, from the 310,000 units expected to be sold this year.

With these positive feedbacks, it is no wonder that Suzuki Philippines Inc. (SPH) has been very active this year and is bullish about the automotive industry.

SPH, the only integrated automobile and motorcycle company in the country, inaugurated four sites in November this year, including the latest addition to its 3S dealership line, Suzuki Auto Pasig, and satellite showrooms at three SM malls in Rizal province.

Suzuki Auto Pasig is the 32nd 3S (sales, spare parts and services) dealership of SPH, and the first stand-alone 3S site in Pasig, now at the other side of E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Barangay Bagong Ilog, Pasig City.

SPH General Manager for Automobile Shuzo Hoshikura was happiest for the latest expansion: “Pasig is such a vital location for Suzuki Philippines. We previously held fort in this city, with only our continuing growth forcing us to transfer to a much-bigger facility in Laguna. To top it off, Pasig has maintained its stature as one of the most-admired and economically thriving cities in the Philippines. We are thrilled to have a new Suzuki arm in the area, especially in a strategically located spot along C-5 Road that serves as one of the most important north-to-south transportation corridors in the National Capital Region.”

Apart from Suzuki Auto Pasig, where customers in the East can avail themselves of all their automobile needs conveniently in one stop, the opening of the satellite showrooms in SM San Mateo, SM Masinag and SM Taytay also strengthened SPH’s thrust in the area, as the showrooms ensure the accessibility of the brand to many residents in Rizal and the eastern part of Metro Manila.

SPH’s opening of dealership and satellite showrooms is most memorable, having won recognition from C! Magazine, the country’s premier automotive magazine. In September this year Suzuki Ertiga was named the Best in Class Compact People Carrier; and Suzuki Celerio, the Best in Class Mini Compact-Hatchback, during the 11th annual C! Magazine Awards.

Also, three Suzuki bikes took home recognitions during the awards night, namely, the Best in Class of Adventure Category for the V-Strom 1000 ABS, the Best for Adventure Japan Middleweight Category for V-Strom 650 and the Best Underbone Fi Category for the Raider J 115 Fi.

About Suzuki Philippines Inc.

SPH is a wholly owned company of Suzuki Motor Co. Ltd. of Japan, known for manufacturing superior-quality motorcycle models in the Philippines. Suzuki takes pride in its motorcycle lineup for leisure, sport or business. The company is the exclusive distributor of Suzuki automobiles and genuine spare parts in the Philippines,  supported by a highly competent work force that provides service and care to each and every Suzuki vehicle.

Suzuki dealers nationwide enjoy great value and attractive incentives. For motorcycles, there are currently 39 3S shops that offer one-stop sales and servicing. The number is still growing.

Suzuki believes in “small cars for a big future,” as it never ends to develop new models that excite and still putting the environment in mind.

Since 1959, when Suzuki first came into the Philippine motoring scene, the company’s vision has always been to “provide this country value-packed motorcycles and compact vehicles of the highest quality, affordability, safety and environment-friendliness; uphold operational efficiency and excellence; ensure the best returns to all our stakeholders, partners and employees; and strongly commit to uplifting the Filipino community’s way of life by providing them the best-quality vehicles that offer not just ease in transportation, but lifestyle options, as well.”

Despite its success in the Philippine market, SPH continues its plan of expanding its localization program in line with the government’s program to establish backward linkages with allied companies in the industry. Each tricycle model that Suzuki manufactures contains as much as 45-percent local components, although the engine is still 100 percent from Japan.

Faced with the challenge of globalization and free trade that will allow importation of low-cost motorcycles, Suzuki is geared to formulate its new blueprint for growth. Strategy is focused on
increasing both the solo-ride market and the tricycle segment.

With the current local population of nearly 100 million and as the country continues to industrialize, mobility becomes an acute necessity, and here is where the motorcycle comes to the rescue as a safe, economical, convenient and yet fashionable means of transportation.

SPH has committed to do its share in accelerating the progress and industrialization of the country by introducing more dynamic products for both motorcycles and automobiles, as well as programs for the Filipino motoring public harnessing the power of “Suzuki’s Way of Life.”

From industrial looms in 1909, Suzuki has come a long way and is currently producing a full range of automobiles, including light trucks, off-road sport-utility vehicles, minicars, racing bikes, scooters, all-terrain vehicles and marine-outboard motors.

The Suzuki brand has a strong market base in Europe, particularly in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and England. In India the Suzuki Alto is the best-selling car, averaging 20,000 units sold monthly.

Globally, Suzuki employs over 45,000 people, has 35 main production facilities in 23 countries, and distributors in 196 countries.

Its manufacturing philosophy is grounded on providing value-packed, high-quality products offering both reliability and originality. Suzuki research and development efforts are devoted to creating products that will meet the challenges of the next generation.

As Suzuki has established its reputation worldwide for quality, versatility and innovation, and has created a heritage of trust and reliability, the most-awaited launch for 2016 would be the Suzuki sedan.

Shuzo Hoshikura, general manager for automobile

THE appointment of Shuzo Hoshikura in 2013 as general manager for automobile was warmly
received by the SPH family. Although he has been in the Philippines since 2012, the amiable executive has maintained a low profile. The BusinessMirror is lucky to have an e-mail interview with him and we would like to share his precious insights with our readers.

At what age did you realize you have to make good and be successful? At what stage in your life did you consider yourself to have attained success?

I realized that I need to do good and be successful when I was in my university days in Japan. I was a member of the rugby varsity team by then, and this really influenced me in being competitive and to have that focus toward my goal.

Meanwhile, accepting and adapting to the challenge as general manager for automobile of Suzuki Philippines Inc. is a success on my part, as well as being instrumental in the current distribution of Suzuki branded vehicles, considering the fast-phase market that the Philippines has.

What were your learning experiences while climbing the ladder of success?

Good communication is important in every step of your way toward achieving that success. This includes sincere communication with business partners, supervisors, colleagues and subordinates.

Would you consider young people today equally good and hardworking, or better than your generation? Why or why not?

I think it’s just the same, because in both generations, there are those who are hardworking and not-so-hardworking type of people. Both generations are equal in this sense.

Your advice or words of wisdom for today’s millennials.

There’s no future or success for those people who are just following the norm. The new generation should get out of their comfort zone to discover new things and enjoy what lies ahead.

Image Credits: Roy Domingo