Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. is withdrawing from China following sinking sales amid fierce competition in the world’s largest auto market.
Suzuki sold just 119,000 vehicles in 2017, less than half of its sales just three years previous, according to the Wall Street Journal. Other international brands, such as Ford and Fiat, have also struggled recently in the market.
The company said in a statement that, in addition to growing pressure from homegrown rivals, a change in Chinese consumer tastes away from Suzuki-style compact cars to larger SUVs had added to the company’s decline.
Suzuki will now exit from its 50-50 joint venture with state-run Chongqing Chang’an Automobile Co.
“Approximately 25 years ago, we launched the Alto in China, and since then we have made efforts in cultivating the Chinese market,” said chairman Osamu Suzuki. “However, due partly to the shifting of the Chinese market to larger vehicles, we have decided to transfer all equity to Chang’an Automobile.”