Suzuki started in Japan as far back as 1909, but for its first 50 years or so, nobody would have remotely associated the company with cars. It was known as the Suzuki Loom Works and was founded by Michio Suzuki to build industrial looms for the lucrative silk industry. Suzuki made his name by inventing a new type of loom in 1929 that was exported around the world, but he wanted to diversify and figured that cars were going to be a growth industry over the coming decades.
He began to invest in research and development of a new car in 1937, but the onset of World War II put to a stop to any such efforts. It was until the 1950s, with a few motorcycles behind him, that Suzuki would again entertain the idea of building a car for the Japanese market. The result, in 1955, was the Suzulight. The motor division wasn't spun off (if you'll excuse the pun) from the loom building division until 1961, and none of Suzuki's cars were actually badged as Suzukis until the 1965 Suzuki Front 800 – the cars were known until then as Suzulights.
The Suzulight was an innovative take on the ever-developing automobile – it was small, light and cheap to run. It heralded a promising future for a company that would become renowned as a small car specialist.
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