To the greatest regret of many fans, Suzuki currently doesn’t make snowmobiles. It’s surprising as the Japanese manufacturer is known as one of the largest players in the powersport industry. However, Suzuki actually entered the snowmobile market in 1971 and produced many iconic sleds! What’s more, from 1976 until 2013 Arctic Cat snowmobiles were powered exclusively by Suzuki engines.
If you would like to find out more about the history of Suzuki snowmobiles, this post is for you.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know under one roof!
Suzuki Snowmobile History
Has Suzuki Ever Made Snowmobiles?
Has Suzuki ever made snowmobiles? This is a typical question of many Suzuki fans, and the answer is yes! In 1971, Suzuki entered the snowmobile industry and came out with a complete lineup. Although these sleds were very dependable and reliable, they didn’t become widely popular.
It’s also good to know that Suzuki was the engine supplier of Arctic Cat for a long time. In the previous years, Cat had used Kawasaki engines but due to numerous warranty issues, the manufacturer was actively looking for a new partnership.
The choice wasn’t difficult, and Kawasaki powerplants were replaced with the all-new Suzuki Spirit engines.
What’s more, as a result of this cooperation, in the mid-‘70s some Arctic Cat snowmobiles were marketed under the brand name of Suzuki. That’s why you can find many vintage Suzuki snowmobiles out there that were actually manufactured by Artic Cat.
For instance, the 1975 Suzuki Fury was basically identical to the Arctic Cat El Tigré. In the previous model year, the El Tigré was powered by a Kawasaki engine, which was replaced with the new Suzuki powerplant.
Besides, Suzuki was not only the engine supplier of Arctic Cat, but had also a remarkable presence in the company.
As you can see, the history of these two brands is intertwined in many ways!
Suzuki Snowmobile Models
Over the years Suzuki manufactured several sleds with various engine options. The first models were powered by the 250, 275, and 340cc “free air” engines, which were cooled with only incoming air. The later models already had the more powerful, 340, 440, and 500cc fan-cooled engines.
Surprisingly, in 1973 there were only four different models in Suzuki’s snowmobile lineup, which were completed with the Yukon 400 in 1974. At that time the flagship Suzuki sled was the iconic XR-440, powered by a 432cc, 36 HP engine.
The new Spirit engine line debuted in the 1976 model year in Arctic Cat snowmobiles.
These powerplants were manufactured in many sizes, but the most powerful was arguably the 500cc twin. This engine not only cranked out about 60 HP but also had significantly more low-end torque compared to its smaller brothers.
Although these engines appeared in many different sleds, some of the most popular vintage Suzuki snowmobiles were as follows:
- Suzuki XR 400
- Suzuki XR 440
- Suzuki 440 Fury
- Suzuki 340 Nomad
- Suzuki 360 Nomad
- Suzuki 400 Wide Track
- Suzuki 400 Yukon
When Did Arctic Cat Stop Using Suzuki Engines?
After many years of mutually beneficial cooperation, Arctic Cat stopped using Suzuki engines in 2013. The company moved manufacturing to its own facilities in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Why did Arctic Cat steer away from Suzuki engines? According to Snowmobile.com, the American manufacturer wanted to be able to respond faster to market changes. And designing and building the engine in-house is always much faster and smoother!
Let’s face it, shipping Suzuki engines from Japan slowed down production. Besides the time constraints, Arctic Cat was also exposed to potential capacity issues.
Because of this, the company couldn’t respond quickly enough to the rapidly increasing demand as its production was limited by the number of engines.
To become independent and more flexible, Cat finally terminated its cooperation with Suzuki and brought engine manufacturing in-house.
Suzuki Snowmobiles for Sale
It’s safe to say that vintage Suzuki snowmobiles are still popular among buyers. They still appear in vintage races as well as on the trails!
Younger sledders especially find new snowmobiles quite expensive, which is why they turn to the cheaper aged sleds.
Unlike brand new sleds, vintage sleds are more affordable and much easier to maintain.
If you are lucky, you can find some Suzuki snowmobiles for sale on Craigslist or other snowmobile classified ad sites.
Besides these websites, you may also want to visit some online Suzuki snowmobile forums and FB groups.
Before you make your final decision, it’s recommended that you do extensive research. You can find a lot of useful information about specific models if you dive into the forum threads!
Conclusion – Does Suzuki Make Snowmobiles?
To the greatest regret of many fans, Suzuki currently doesn’t offer snowmobiles.
Just like many other competitor manufacturers, Suzuki also entered the market in the early ‘70s.
At that time there was a huge “snowmobile boom” that attracted about 100 new manufacturers into this industry.
Besides manufacturing its own sleds, Suzuki was the engine supplier of Arctic Cat for decades. It’s also a fun fact that some of the sleds made by these manufacturers were actually completely identical!
Finally, Arctic Cat terminated the cooperation and Suzuki left the snowmobile industry in 2013.
This means that if you are looking for a Suzuki snowmobile for sale, your only chance is to find one on the used market.
If you are lucky, you can find a vintage Suzuki sled in good shape on Craigslist, Snowmobiletrader, or other classified ad websites.
You may also want to visit online Suzuki forums and FB groups. Besides some great deals, you can find a lot of useful info on these sites!