Monday, December 30, 2019

Yes, You Can Buy a New Suzuki Hustler in the USA

Suzuki Busy Badger / Suzuki Hustler

I was having lunch with a good friend yesterday and we got talking about Suzuki cars. He told me how much he liked the new Ignis which he saw in Mexico. I told him I saw them in Iceland last summer. I then told him I am in love with the Suzuki Hustler, a small, tall kei car. He said, you know you can buy one in the U.S. right? Wait, what?

How could this be possible? Suzuki pulled out of the U.S. in 2013, so it wouldn't be from a dealer. However, there is a company importing them and calling them the Busy Badger LS. Yes, you read that right.

An outfit in Jackson, MI called RSM & Associates Co. (aka Gung Ho Minitrucks) currently has a 2019 Suzuki Busy Badger LS on its website for $19,974. This is literally the same thing as a Suzuki Hustler, granted this is a lower-end spec. The listing says it's a low-speed vehicle. It also says it's all-wheel drive, has an automatic transmission, air conditioning, and is road legal. Heck, it looks like it even has airbags. Now, since this is a LSV (low speed vehicle), there is likely a governor on the engine restricting the Busy Badger to speeds under 25 MPH. We all know that a Suzuki Hustler can do well over that, however. But federal law states than an LSV:

  • Has four wheels.
  • Within one mile can reach a speed of more than 20 miles per hour (mph) but not more than 25 mph on a paved level surface.
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 3,000 pounds.
  • Must be certified to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) to be registered and operated on public streets, roads, or highways.
  • Not be operated on any roadway with a speed limit above 35 mph.

Frankly, kei cars have been imported and registered under this LSV provision for years, and each state had different ins and outs for registration. At the college I attended, we had a Suzuki Wagon R and Daihatsu Hijets. These were used as grounds-maintenance vehicles and for deliveries on campus.

So the big question is, could this Suzuki be registered for non LSV use? The answer is most likely no. At least not legally. Or at least not easily and legally. RSM & Associates even has a section that specifically says, "Can you change my LSV so it goes faster than 25 after I buy it?" They specifically state that the rules prevent them from making an LSV go faster than the mandated limits after you buy it. They also say that if you buy a LSV, plan to use it for local use only. No overland trips, ok?

In a wonderful tidbit of info, RSM says that 25 MPH or 21.72 nautical miles per hour, is the same speed that the container ships travel at to go from Japan to the US and they cross the Pacific (8,600 miles) in two weeks. Huh.

So while you may be able to legally buy a Suzuki Hustler in the U.S., you may not be able to take it very far or very fast, but you could have one.

Suzuki Hustler - rear

1 comment:

Luismi38 said...

The best option would be the Swift Sport that is also sold in Mexico.