Suzuki Motors into Panama City
Announces plans for waterfront technical center
Suzuki Motor of America Inc. announced on Thursday plans for Suzuki Marine Technical Center USA, to be built on a 20-acre waterfront property off Frankford Avenue in Panama City.
Suzuki is currently renovating buildings at the site, which previously was used for Marine Transportation’s Logistical Headquarters and a Florida State University research facility.
“As a mobility company, Suzuki is about empowering people to enjoy the great outdoors and travel freely by land and sea,” Max Yamamoto, president of Suzuki Motor of America, said in a news release.
“We are planning a state-of-the-art Suzuki marine technical center that will help us develop, test and refine the best possible Suzuki outboard products for today and tomorrow. Our goal is to improve the lives of people on the water, and ensure everyday mobility for as many people as possible.”
Suzuki, according to the release, will repair the launch ramp, replace docks destroyed by Hurricane Michael, repair a seawall, improve the basin, refurbish the existing Marine Transportation building, and add structures as needed.
“We are proud to have Suzuki Motor of America developing this new facility in Panama City — and not only from a business perspective,” said Ben Lee, chairman of the Bay Economic Development Alliance. “We already knew Suzuki as a respected,
worldwide brand, but as we worked with them in selecting a site, we learned that Suzuki is also a company with a deep respect for the marine and coastal environment. This is precisely the type of business partner we want to bring to our region.”
Added Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki, “Suzuki will be an excellent addition to the business community in Panama City. This project is exciting because it will utilize the fantastic natural assets we have in our community. As our community recovers and improves after Hurricane Michael, we are delighted to welcome global companies like Suzuki.”
“This is a project that our team, working in conjunction with City of Panama City and Bay County officials, have been working on since before Hurricane Michael,” said Becca Hardin, president of the Bay Economic Development Alliance. “The Suzuki project team visited our community numerous times before the storm and after. They continually commented on the resilience of our community and how everyone is working together to build a better Bay County. Suzuki wants to be a part of this effort and they will be a very committed, involved corporate partner.
Suzuki expects that during its first year in Panama City, three to five people will be employed at the facility and live in the area. At various times, additional part-time employees will be needed depending upon workload.
Over the next three years, Suzuki expects to add additional employees every year as the scope of operation grows.
Suzuki has more than 1,200 dealers and does business with more than 150 U.S.-based boat companies, who along with engineers from Japan, will be visiting the facility.
“This comes at a time when the boating industry is facing unparalleled challenges due to the coronavirus outbreak,” Yamamoto said. “We are confident that our world and our industry will get through this crisis, which is why we are moving forward with this plan for the future.”