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Industry News: Suzuki: Kizashi A "Headache"


William Maley

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William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

December 7, 2013

The Suzuki Kizashi, a model that was loved by many automotive writers and journalists (your's truly included), but never made a mark on consumers, will not get a second chance. According to Drive.com.au, Suzuki is unlikely to develop a replacement model.

“That’s my headache. Kizashi was a very unlucky car,” said Suzuki’s Australian managing director Masaaki Kato.

“We had so many arguments about the question: how to handle Kizashi. At that time, frankly speaking, we should not have introduced the car into the market in 2009. But you see, we made a big investment to develop this car… after heavy and hard discussion, we decided to introduce this Kizashi.”

Aside from the poor timing of the launch, the Kizashi also had problems with poor brand recognition, and being in-between a compact and midsize sedan.

Kato also revealed that Suzuki was working on turbocharged and V6 versions, along with a wagon before the company scrapped them due to the poor sales.

Source: Drive.com.au

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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Suzuki should have never gotten into cars. Every Japan company thinks they have to do everything and this has hurt more than helped their economy especially in the last 15 years.

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As you know I sold these for awhile. The problem was more with the 'Suzuki' part than the 'Kizashi' part.

We had trouble selling them vs. those that wanted larger midsizers. Truth was, the car was packaged well and had more room for its size than most other cars. But it was a tish shy on leg room in the back (it has more than the current Malibu).

The reverse of that, the car is almost identical in dimension to the Chevy Cruze. It has more room and far more sophistication than the Cruze. Overall, the size of the Kizashi is more equal to the compact.

Most folks who drove one, loved the car. Most folks who came in had already known about the car and its great manners and better than a commodity car quality.

The underlying story here is that the car was developed with the US primarily in mind. Since they do not operate in the US anymore, is why the car is gone.

The Suzuki authentics concept is almost identical in size and was developed more or less to replace the Kizashi. The Authentics will be lighter and more oriented to be marketed against the compacts like the Kia Forte etc. in the countries it is in.

Suzuki's failure was its US distribution and the fact that the Japanese base office is notoriously stubborn and not at all flexible to go outside its core markets.

I still keep an eye open for a good used one that I can buy super cheap but if I don't, no big loss. I got so many raves from my customers that i sold especially the GTS and SLS models to. And the AWD customers too.

The car itself was a tweener and that hurt it a lot. Think Chrysler Sebring from like 2004. Not big enough to be a midsize, but clearly not a compact.

This knee jerk sort of behavior by Suzuki is the type of $h! we who tried to support them was so maddening. "Why don't you put cruise control on the base cars?" "Why is your gas mileage so $h!ty" "Why don't you have XM radio" "Why can't you get a stick with AWD" "Why isn't there a Kizashi crossover" "why is there no Kizashi turbo" "why can't you get leather or a sunroof in an SX4"? "why didn't you make at least one version of the Kizashi without a CVT" Suzuki does so much dumb $h! that you want to go over there and personally slap up each and every company officer in charge over there.

Moltar, had you ever set foot in one? They were clearly different from commodity cars once you drove one.

concept-cars-frankfurt-motor-show-new-yo

Suzuki Authentics (Kizashi II)

2013_Suzuki_Authentics_Concept_06.jpg

2012-suzuki-swift-sport1.jpg

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Suzuki should have never gotten into cars. Every Japan company thinks they have to do everything and this has hurt more than helped their economy especially in the last 15 years.

you do know that Suzuki is one of the top 2 car seller in Japan, number one in India, and number 9 it is I believe the world?

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The Kizashi was an excellent car that was introduced as the market imploded and never really given a chance by those scorned from GM-sourced Daewoo rebadges. And now, due to Suzuki exiting the U.S. market, they will be subjected to piss-poor resale value in the used-car market; a blessing and a curse.

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The Kizashi was an excellent car that was introduced as the market imploded and never really given a chance by those scorned from GM-sourced Daewoo rebadges. And now, due to Suzuki exiting the U.S. market, they will be subjected to piss-poor resale value in the used-car market; a blessing and a curse.

The GM-Daewoo Suzukis and the XL7 did more to destroy the good will towards Suzuki than anything. I cannot tell you how many genuinely upset people I spoke with who had Reno's Forenza's (GM) XL-7's and Veronas in the service dept that gave them headaches. The Forenza in particular was one of the vehicles that no manufacturer would want.

The thing that makes me LOL about it so much is the Kizashi single handedly was of the quality and drive to wipe all that away if Suzuki had invested in developing the whole line and marketing their product right!

What is so interesting, the new Corolla has nearly the identical length and wheelbase and other dimensions to the kizashi. The Kizashi is a schosche wider. I think Suzuki had sorta tried to position it as a cheaper alternative to the TSX and Euro cars, which to a small degree made sense. Where they erred was calling it midsize. True that it was damn close to the other midsizers in commodiousness, but it lacked rear leg room. Our detail guy, he was going to get a K, and then I ended up writing a used Sonata for him....he needed a bit more room front and back for his 6'-4" frame and a car seat. But compared to the Elantra, Civic, Corolla, Cruze (all which were damn close in dimensions), the Kizashi had way more room and space. And drove far better.

The prices would have needed to been adjusted some, but I knew people who spent 25k on a loaded Cruze, for 25k you coulda had an AWD SLS Kizashi (or at least a FWD one depending on the discount).

I think had they marketed the car as a great alternative to the run of the mill compacts for not a heckova lot more dough, I think they would have fared much better than trying lump into the midsize class.

I passed up a 2012 Used Kizashi SE leather FWD with 5k miles a few weeks back for 13k. The dealer quick saled it as they had gotten it in on a trade for a new Ford by a scared owner. They must have lost a buttload of money! It was actually a car that had sat on the lot where i worked for like a year before it was sold new. That was sort of LOL. I waited and when they went down from 14,500 to 13,000, the car sold fast. So that was a huge value loss vs. MSRP but still from what I see, they actually are holding up value fairly well (the AWD ones and the GTS ones and SLS ones at least).

Recently there was a crop of fleeted units that hit the market, and a lot of them were FWD 2012's with about 30-40k miles that were selling most dealers in the 13-14 range.

Imagine an AWD 6 speed manual turbo Kizashi SLS or GTS. Or even with say a 6 or 8 speed real automatic. I think that model of one could have been a huge game changer.

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Suzuki should have never gotten into cars. Every Japan company thinks they have to do everything and this has hurt more than helped their economy especially in the last 15 years.

you do know that Suzuki is one of the top 2 car seller in Japan, number one in India, and number 9 it is I believe the world?

They might be tops in a couple markets and might be tops in a market segment in Japan. Having gone to college there, you do not see Suzuki on the roads as much as you see Honda and Toyota. India I see more Suzuki motorcycles than auto's on the road since I travel there to work with an engineering team often.

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you're looking through a pinhole. In 2011, the production was 2.7 million vehicles. Still the number 10 global automaker. So not Toyota, sure, but as Americans typically may do, may disregard many other parts of the globe. If Suzuki wasn't making coin here, it probably made sense to pull out of a market they did not want to invest more in.

I think if you had a company that made 2.7 million of anything a year, you'd be quite pleased.

By contrast, Mazda had about 1.2 million units.

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  • 3 months later...
Guest Brian

I have a 2010 sls awd. Bought it new after my wife bought a 2010 se awd. I love how the car handles but hate the cvt transmission. I really wish they would have offered a v6 or turbo. I read that Chevy was going to supply the v6 for the 2011 year but it never happened. Just my 2cents.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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