Suzuki Kizashi sale figures will influence decision to offer V6, hybrid variant

Suzuki knows that its new Kizashi midsize sedan will have a tough time competing with bigger rivals in the segment – with hopes to avoid that, Suzuki will steer half of this year’s $30 million marketing budget for the new sedan to U.S. dealers.

“The budget for a national launch just wasn’t there, and Suzuki listened to the dealer advisory board about redistributing the marketing funds,” said Scott Pitman, president of Suzuki of Wichita in Kansas.

The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi has started arriving in showrooms as the company aims to shake last year’s drop of 54 percent in U.S. sales, more than double the industry’s decline. Even 2010 started on a bad note, as Suzuki’s sales dropped 44 percent in January while the market rose 6 percent.

Many things depend on the sales of the new Kizashi sedan. The company hopes that its dealers can initially move 1,000 units a month and expand that to 2,500 within a year. If Suzuki can hit 5,000 units a month in global volume, it will consider building a hybrid or V6 variant. Also, if that happens, Suzuki will use the Kizashi platform for other vehicles such as the replacement for the XL-7 crossover.

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– By: Kap Shah

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)