Few products have been asked to play such a significant role, but American Suzuki has a lot riding on the upcoming launch of its 2010 Kizashi sedan.
The Japanese maker has long been little more than a niche player in the critical U.S. market – even though it is now the world’s 11th largest automotive manufacturer. With the addition of the midsize Kizashi to its line-up, Suzuki is hoping to move into the mainstream. It’s an ambitious – some would say audacious – plan, with the Japanese automaker not only planning to take on big name brands, like Toyota, with its Camry, and Honda, with the Accord, but even some luxury marques, such as Acura.
“This product will complete the transformation of our brand,” said Gene Brown, American Suzuki’s vice president of marketing, during a preview of the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi. The sedan will also have to help reverse a sharp sales decline, among the worst among any brand competing in the American market.
In Japanese, Kizashi means “something great is coming,” and Suzuki put that message out when it first showed the sedan, in concept car form, at the September 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. It reappeared, a half-year later, at the New York Auto Show. Now, Suzuki officials confirm the production version is due to hit showrooms by the end of 2009.