How Michio Suzuki Conquered the World’s Motorcycle Market

On February 10 in the year 1887, one of the pioneers in the motorcycle industry was born in Shizouka Prefecture, Japan. His name is Michio Suzuki, the founder of Suzuki Motor Company.

Michio Suzuki
Michio Suzuki (Credit: Nautica Report)

Michio Suzuki was the son of an impoverished rice farmer. As a teenager, he worked in a carpentry shop. In 1909, he invented a pedal-operated loom made out of wood. He then set up Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Company to manufacture and market his invention. As sales increased, he listed his company in 1920 to generate additional funds for expansion. He also began exporting his looms to other countries.

In the 1930s, the Japanese government called for more military equipment to support its war against China. Suzuki’s company answered the call by turning his factory into ammunition manufacturing plant. With his newly acquired skill in ammunition assembly, he began to experiment on car and motorized bicycle manufacturing. But these activities had to be put on the back burner during World War II.

In 1952, Suzuki built its first motorized bicycle with a 36cc, two-stroke engine attached to the frame of a conventional bicycle. It was called the “Power Free”. More improved motorcycles were launched in the following years and the Suzuki brand soared in worldwide popularity when one of its motorcycles won the 50cc world championship race in Europe in 1962. The following year, it began exporting motorcycles to the United States.

In 1954, the company was renamed Suzuki Motors Co. Ltd. Soon, Suzuki embarked on its ultimate dream of becoming a manufacturer of world-class automobiles. That year, it launched its first car, the Suzulight.

Michio Suzuki died in 1982 at the aged of 95. He had a son named Shunzo Suzuki. At present, Suzuki is one of the largest manufacturers of motorcycles and cars. It has established sales offices and factories in several countries in addition to its six production plants in Japan.



  1. Wow; that’s amazing! I have always thought that the Japanese people were smarter than average people in the things that they make and manufacture. It really was interesting to read about this brilliant man! My first bike was a Honda 50cc; they don’t make them any more…..sigh! Now I love Harleys…..thanks for sharing!

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