Suzuki was formed in June 1954, and introduced its first car – the 360cc Suzulight – in 1955. Its first car was shaped after minutely studying the microcar opposition from Europe, and building something better. It proved a hit in Japan, and was soon joined by van and pick-up versions. In 1959, it was joined by the Suzulight TL, a car styled eerily similar to the Mini.
The company concentrated on kei-class (miniature) cars well into the 1980s, producing the Fronte, Cervo and Alto – but it was the arrival of the scaled-down off-roader, the LJ80, that really opened up Suzuki to significant export success. Since then, it's grown into one of the world's leading manufacturers of smaller cars and lightweight off-roaders.