When is a Suzuki not a Suzuki?

When is a Suzuki not a Suzuki? This may seem like a daft question and the answer is when it is a Santana…

What are Santana’s and where are they made? And why would something wearing Suzuki badges not be one?

The answers that Santana’s were Spanish, I say were as sadly they are no longer made.  2010 was not the best year for European motor manufacturers with names that started with S as Santana and Saab both effectively ended production. Santana had been making Suzuki’s under license from the mid-1980’s. Before that Santana made under license localized versions of the Land Rover, this agreement ended in the early 1990’s. So at one point both Suzuki’s and Land Rovers were being assembled in the same factory at the same time.


So what has this got to do with my Vitara? If anyone checks the details of when Suzuki stopped making the model, most will say 1998. Yet mine is a 1999 model, so who made it?

Of course Santana, officially it is a Santana Suzuki Vitara. When Suzuki and Santana’s agreement ended in 2006 so did a lot of the support for those models. The result being that it is far easier to get certain parts for earlier Vitara’s than later ones.

Does this change how I feel about the Vitara? Oddly I have a passion for oddballs and even had known a little of Santana’s history long before I bought the Vitara.

So quite the reverse, I always fancied having one and now I have one.

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