To celebrate 100 years of innovation Suzuki is showcasing its history and manufacturing prowess at Suzuki Plaza, a three storey heritage centre in front of its headquarters in Japan.
Enthusiasts can marvel at the first Suzuki outboard engine and chart its evolution up to the present day. Motorcycles and cars also feature heavily on display and the company has even installed a modern car production line.
Outboard engines have come a long way since Suzuki first entered the market with the D55 (5.5hp, 2-stroke) in 1965, applying the company’s motorised vehicle expertise to the marine sector. The early outboard models are pure 1960’s in style – bold red and white curves.
Over the ensuing decades Suzuki has helped propel outboard technology forward with wide-ranging industry firsts ranging from the first stainless steel water pump housing in 1973 to the groundbreaking fuel efficiency technology unveiled in recent months. In 1980 Suzuki invented the first Oil Injection for outboards, and in 1985 first ventured into the big engine market with its V6 engines, the DT150 and DT200. Two years later the DT200 Exante won “Most Innovative Products” award from the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA) for the advanced technology of its dual spark plug cylinder head, digital instrumentation and Suzuki monitoring system.
In 1997 the award-winning DF60 and DF70 were launched as the first Suzuki 4-Strokes with Electronic Fuel Injection System. A year later Suzuki became the first manufacturer to win the Innovation Award from the International Marine Trades Exposition and Convention (IMTEC) two years in a row, in 1998 for the advanced technology of its Cam Drive System with Timing Chain in the DF40 and DF50. In 2003 the first Suzuki 4-stroke V6 outboards were introduced as the lightest 4-stroke outboard motors in their class with the largest displacement.
The industry’s first 300HP 4-stroke was Suzuki’s top of the range outboard, the DF300 and winner of the IBEX 2006 Innovation Award from NMMA. This was the first outboard to utilise an electronic remote control. Its progressive technology includes Suzuki Precision Control (Electronic Throttle and Shift System) and its 4 litre V6 24-valve engine’ is the largest displacement in V6 4-stroke outboards.
As fuel prices escalated last year, Suzuki responded with advanced fuel technology proven to take customers further on the same amount of fuel, setting new benchmarks for engine fuel economy in the process. This unique ‘Lean Burn Control System’ features in the new DF90/DF80/DF70 outboards launched in August 2008.
Walk through Suzuki Plaza and you will travel back through ten decades of technological innovation to 1909 when Michio Suzuki founded the Suzuki Loom Works to build better, more ergonomic looms for Japan’s vast silk industry. Cars, motorcycles and then outboard engines followed. Much has changed in 100 years, but Suzuki’s focus on craftsmanship for the benefit of its customers is as evident today in its technologically advanced engines as it was in the handlooms of 100 years ago.
It has never been a better time to get to grips with a new Suzuki in Australia and New Zealand with a range from DF2.5HP to DF300HP. New models such as the DF60A and DF8 & 9.9 are still breaking new ground in outboard technology development.