Suzuki etymology: What does its name mean? Who is it named after?

Dominant in India, and popular in Japan and Asia, Suzuki specialises in smaller vehicles and motorbikes, but where does its come from and what’s its history?


Like Toyota, the company started life as a loom company. In 1909 Michio Suzuki founded Suzuki Loom Works — named, obviously, after himself. Up until 1937, the company concentrated almost exclusively on looms for silk.

Looking to diversify, the company began to dabble in automobiles, but prototypes and production plans were put on hold due to World War II.

It wasn’t until 1951 and the collapse in the price of cotton, that the company began to look into vehicles again. Given the shortages and poverty brought on by losing the war, Suzuki began making the Power Free motorised bike in 1952.

With its motorbikes a success, the company began automobile production in 1955. It’s first car, the Suzulight, was highly unusual for the time, it had fully independent suspension, rack and pinion steering, and front-wheel drive.




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Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Editor-at-large — Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]


Suzuki etymology: What does its name mean? Who is it named after?