Raiding the Masses
- Lester Dizon () - May 24, 2006 - 12:00am
In America, Europe, Japan and some Asian countries, Suzuki motorcycles are known for their race replicas — witness the GSX-R road bikes and DR dirt bike models — and for their performance-tuned motorcycles. In the Philippines, the image of Suzuki motorcycles varies with the classes. The commuting masses recognize the brand as a commercial model used by tricycles, while the underbone/commuter riders have nothing but praises for the Suzuki Raider 150 and its Shogun series of bikes. The upper crust sees Suzuki as an SUV (Jimny, Vitara, and Grand Vitara) or as a small van (APV).

Well, things may change for Suzuki in 2006. At a launch event at the Bellevue Hotel in Alabang last May 12, Suzuki Philippines introduced its champion for the highly popular and lucrative 110cc underbone/commuter market — the Suzuki Raider J. Aimed to capture a slice of the market from the Honda XRM 110, the Suzuki Raider J carries the designer DNA of the vaunted Raider 150 with its aerodynamic panels and striking overall design but equipped with a smaller 110cc four-stroke, OHC, two-valve engine to appeal to the 110cc custom bike crowd.

Suzuki showed that the Raider J will lend itself well to the popular modifications that most bikers are now doing to their rides. To emphasize their point, they showed several modified Raider J bikes that were done by noted custom bike modifier PJ Bonza. With the magic 110cc formula and the expected appeal the Raider J will have to the masses, Suzuki likewise announced its new marketing slogan "Your Lifestyle, Your Ride", which denotes Suzuki’s thrust to promote motorcycling as a lifestyle. With the solo rider market growing to 84% compared to the commercial (tricycle and business) market, which was further reduced to 16% to date, Suzuki has wisely put more emphasis on its sporty solo models, with the Raider J and 150 and Shogun series leading the marketing assault.

To add muscle to their product line-up, Suzuki extolled its dealers to be more aggressive in 2006 with the battle cry "Reaching for New Heights". The dealers and the press were further indoctrinated with Suzuki’s new aggression with the introduction of the Suzuki racing team that will compete in the National Racing Association (NRA) underbone and super bike classes. Suzuki will be represented by young and aggressive talents as if to market the company’s new drive on race tracks during the NRA races.

With Suzuki’s newfound marketing prowess, all we need now are test ride units so we can report to you how their bikes fare in our streets. It may be one of the oldest clichés to end a story, but stay tuned!

BELLEVUE HOTEL GRAND VITARA IN AMERICA IN THE PHILIPPINES NATIONAL RACING ASSOCIATION NEW HEIGHTS RAIDER RAIDER J SUZUKI SUZUKI PHILIPPINES SUZUKI RAIDER J
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