When you think of Japanese motor vehicles, you don’t think of weaving looms. Yet this is exactly how Michio Suzuki, founder of Suzuki Motor Company, got his start. Suzuki Loom Works was a success for three decades, but in the 1930s, Suzuki began casting around for other markets and quickly realized that what Japan needed was small cars. World War II meant civilian cars were not a priority for the Japanese government, and after developing a few prototypes, Suzuki returned to his profitable loom business. His patience paid off because when the war ended, Japan needed dependable cheap transportation, and Suzuki answered the call with motorized bicycles. By 1954, business was booming, but Michio Suzuki hadn't lost his desire to build passenger cars. In 1955, he introduced the Suzuki Suzulight to Japan, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the Suzuki Motor Co. Ltd broke into the North American market. Joining forces with General Motors, Suzuki began selling the Suzuki Cultus as the Chevrolet Sprint, soon followed by the Suzuki Samurai, the Swift, the Sidekick, the Esteem, and the Grand Vitara. In 1996, Suzuki's production peaked at nearly a million vehicles, and in 2006, Suzuki broke 100,000 in vehicles sales in the United States for the first time. Over the course of the decade, the company redesigned its most popular model, the Grand Vitara, and introduced new models such as the Suzuki XL7 and the Suzuki SX4.