By on January 27, 2012

For a brand that seemingly doesn’t have two nickels to rub together, a Super Bowl ad spot is quite an expenditure. Suzuki, makers of…umm…the GSX-R motorcycle, and some other assorted wares, will be broadcasting an ad during the Super Bowl. Apparently, the products have four wheels, not two. Who knew?

This is also the second year in a row that Suzuki has run a Super Bowl ad. Doesn’t seem like it’s brought them a positive ROI, has it? The spot, which highlights the Kizashi sedan’s AWD drivetrain, does have some adorable Husky sled  dogs in it, but that’s not going to be enough to convince people to fork over money for one. Maybe it’s an awareness campaign to let Americans know that Suzuki still exists?

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40 Comments on “Suzuki To Broadcast Super Bowl Ad – Who Is Suzuki Again?...”


  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    1. The name Kizashi is stupid. Sounds like a type of sushi complement.
    2. They really need to get rid of that stupid Superman emblem. That was cute for about ten minutes ten years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      JK43123

      I think “Kizashi” sounds like a sneeze.

      John

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      They also need to refresh it a little so it looks a little more like the Kizashi concept and not a relatively generic looking midsize.
      Somewhat unfortunately for Suzuki I think the smaller dimensions of the vehicle pretty much doomed it for the US market. They might have to suck it up and pull a VW and just bloat the hell out of this car for this market.
      Also…resales on these are pretty horrifying. Though that makes me consider picking one up though it looks like the configuration I wanted wasn’t available until the newest model year.

  • avatar
    Darth Lefty

    As an aside: each dog seems to be in the same kind of harness, attached to the seat. Is this the dog industry safe and correct thing to do? Wouldn’t they flip over and hang themselves legs-up in an accident? How then did the one dog get its head out the window?

    • 0 avatar

      A couple of years ago at the Chicago Auto Show preview, Volvo, which works with dog charities, gave out safety harnesses so you can buckle up your dog. I gave one to my ex to use with her greyhound and think I still have one in one of the boxes of swag in the basement.

      http://www.barkbuckleup.com/

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Hey, it can’t hurt…

  • avatar
    threeer

    Suzuki needs more than Super Bowl ads…and more than the Kizashi. Renting a SX4 sedan for the last two weeks, and there really is nothing (other than maybe price?) that would compel me to buy this versus any other number of small cars out there. While a manual tranny SX4 hatch AWD is sort of tempting, I don’t see Suzuki having much in the way of traffic generating product…good as the Kizashi has been reported to be.

    • 0 avatar
      Da Coyote

      “… While a manual tranny SX4 hatch AWD is sort of tempting, …”

      That’s exactly what I purchased for my low-cost commuter car, and I absolutely love it. It’s great in the snow, and whilst it’s no sports car, it is fun to throw it around a bit.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    They should probably just give up and find a way to federalize their kei cars with hayabusa engines jammed into them…

  • avatar
    bodegabob

    Too bad more people don’t try the Kizashi. The one I rented was so far superior inside and out to the typical CamCord that it felt like a totally different class of car. Far more more rewarding to the driver as well.

    I still wouldn’t buy one. Dealer network is too shaky, and Zuk’s commitment to the US market is somewhat in doubt.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    the kizashi doesn’t know what it wants to be

    i see it compared to the cruze/focuses of the world and then to camcords…

    if reviewers don’t know how to pigeonhole it, neither does the public

    it could also do with a new engine as the 2.4 seems past it as far as fuel econ goes

  • avatar
    JMII

    Suzuki also makes decent outboard engine for boats… just in case your keeping score. I think Mitsubishi and Suzuki should combine. Continuing alone and fighting each other for the scraps will lead to a slow death.

  • avatar
    theonewhogotaway

    I am a happy 2007 SX4 AWD owner. Suzuki’s problem is not their cars, but their dealer network. Far and in-between. And superbowl ads will not solve that problem. Outside the US, Suzuki is doing pretty well, for some reason they have not been agressive here (wonder if it has to do with the old GM partership) and they are keeping their best car (Swift) outside the US market.

    • 0 avatar

      The 1-hour drive distance to the nearest Suzuki dealer was a big reason why I didn’t go with them when I was on the market in 2006. Toyota was right next door.

    • 0 avatar
      rentonben

      Love our Grand Vitara with its locking differentials despite of it, but damn it took courage to venture into local sketchy Suzuki dealership.

      Suzuki should ‘Saturnize’ their dealerships and should considering letting their motorcycle dealers sell their cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        should considering letting their motorcycle dealers sell their cars.

        ^^This… make it as painless as possible for the dealers in question, cross-train your best mechanics for cars and motorcycles, make it so. My local Suzuki power-sports dealer is busy and well liked. My closest Suzuki car dealer is 300 miles away round trip.

      • 0 avatar

        The problem is finding Suzuki motorcycle dealers willing to make the investment (probably six figures) in parts and at least a couple of service bays.

        This same strategy has been suggested for Mahindra. Use their tractor dealers, who have a pretty good reputation with customers, to sell pickup trucks.

        Likewise, instead of standalone Fiat stores, Chrysler should have sold the Fiat 500 through its existing Chrysler and Dodge dealer network. Maybe they wanted to imitate BMW’s success with discrete MINI stores but when you already have an established dealer network, why not use it?

  • avatar

    For what it’s worth, ASMC’s sales were up 11% last year. Maybe a bit of advertising helped?

    I own a 2012 SX4 and a 1995 Sidekick, and both have been great. I do, however, agree that the dealer network is fractured, and the ad budget needs to be expanded.

  • avatar
    Marko

    The Daewoo-based cars probably killed off Suzuki’s reputation.

    • 0 avatar
      theonewhogotaway

      the Suzuki Verona and Forenza/Reno (only 2 Daewoo-based models) were produced only from 2004-6 and were a very little % of the Suzuki sales back then (Grand/Vitara, XL7 were their main sellers.) Suzuki never had much or a delear network in the US. Consumer Reports did not help with the Samurai, but I think that their GM venture (remember Geo?) came with some non-compete restrictions…

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Sure liked their bikes. If they represent the quality control found in the car they are probably good cars. The swift was great I thought. Looked like a Geo Metro with another cylinder and it definitely could get out of it’s own way.

  • avatar
    nearprairie

    We just bought a Kizashi after an epic 4-month tire kicking marathon. Yes, the car is rock solid and built with a standard of quality and innovation unseen since the ’88-’91 Hondas. Yes, dealers are few and far between. Yes, Suzuki could benefit from better product placement and advertising. Yes, Suzuki would benefit even more from a full model line of true Japanese-built rollers available to U.S. buyers. But here’s what a source from inside Suzuki North America shared: The company has zero debt over here and plans to keep it that way, hence the miniscule presence, model line, and dearth of advertising.

    As for the 2012 Super Bowl ad, it doesn’t make me swell with pride, grin with the warm fuzzies, or feel like smirking because I’m one of the few smart enough to own a Suzu-K. It looks par for the Suzuki course to me — an ad that didn’t cost a zillion dollars to produce, and one that would incrementally increase its visibility without creating so much demand as to strain its supply line.

    • 0 avatar
      devilsadvocate

      You took the words out of my mouth! My 2-year old Kizashi has been completely trouble-free and a hoot to drive. There is a reason Suzuki has been the only auto company to post a profit every year since they started…they know how to manage limited resources. It would appear they spend more money in development and production than advertising (what a concept!) It’s a shame that so many people equate the number of cars sold to the quality of a car (or the manufacturer). A company doesn’t have to sell a bazillion cars to be successful or make a quality product. If it’s Suzuki’s destiny to remain a bit player in the U.S., so be it…but they deserve better. I guess the best thing I can say is that if I was in the market for another car (and the Swift would tempt me), Suzuki would be at the top of the list based on my Kizashi experience.

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        Was either of you driving south on I-270 in Maryland this afternoon?

        First Kizashi I’ve seen away from the front of the dealership I drive by about once a week.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        The problem is that in the modern auto industry you really do have to sell a significant amount of cars or sell a significant amount of money’s worth in order to pay for R&D. Most car platforms cost several billion dollars to develop at this point so it’s near impossible if you have no volume. Suzuki does have pretty good volume elsewhere though, just not in the US market.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Suzuki went south when they began selling re-badged Daewoos over here, Daewoo seems to kill anything they become associated with and GM still continues their association.

  • avatar

    Suzuki seems to be following in the strategy that Honda employed and then abandoned: pick your global markets and segments carefully. Don’t try to be all things to all people.

    I do think that Suzuki as a corporation could do a better job of leveraging their very good reputation as a maker of motorcycles. Most mfgs would kill to have nickname recognition like “Gixxer” and “Busa”. It’s just that 200 mph crotch rockets don’t translate well to a car line that’s primarily focused on value and low cost.

    Sure, they’ll put out a Hayabusa in their car show stand, but they don’t do anything like Honda’s old “Honda Motors” ads, showing all the things that Honda sells that have engines. Honda had a scale model of the Hondajet in their NAIAS display.

    • 0 avatar
      theonewhogotaway

      Interesting thing is the Suzuki outsells Honda in autos (and Mazda, btw) in Europe…

      • 0 avatar
        devilsadvocate

        I think it’s interesting that Suzuki doesn’t alter their models for the U.S. The Kizashi,SX4 and Grand Vitara we get are the same as every other place. Others, like Toyota, Honda, Hyundai,etc. seem to have different model lineups for each continent. Seems like a waste of resources, not to mention the issue of maintaining quality over such a wide range of products. Suzuki’s lineup might be much more limited, but the products are solid.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        The reason they sell so poorly is exactly because they didn’t alter the products. They’re selling a much smaller midsize sedan that comes with 18″ rims (on most trims except the stripped base) in a market with horrible roads. Meanwhile VW went ahead and blew up the Jetta and Passat and gave them couch like rides and saw massive sales increases. Not that I think Suzuki should really change things that much but it might not be a bad idea to slightly increase the size of the Kizashi if they really want to take on the midsize class in the US.

  • avatar
    Carl in NH

    Was in the market last fall, as the wife wanted to replace her 1997 Camry with an AWD sedan, due to the northeast winters. I drive a Subaru Outback and was hit a couple years ago with the head gasket issue that bedevils Subarus, so I was desperately looking for any alternative to a Legacy. Luckily, a friend mentioned the Kizashi to me (“gesundheit” was my first response), and after going down to the local Suzuki dealer we ended up with a 2012 SE model.

    It is the perfect car for her needs. Although a bit small for what I would want for my next DD, I do enjoy getting in the Kizashi and driving it whenever I have the opportunity. No complaints about the quality, the driving experience, etc. I am starting to get used to the JATCO CVT, although it remains to be seen how they are when they get old (we drive our cars into the ground). At any rate, Suzuki has a 7-year / 100k warranty, so no worries in that regard.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    Their new Swift would complement the Kizashi perfectly in this market, especially if they brought a turbo-4/6-speed over in some hot-hatch version.

    In fact, their Super Bowl ad should have been something that included both cars, power-sliding or something; kind of in a “we’re back” vein.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    I wonder if Fiat will offer Sedici (aka Suzuki SX4) at our shores?

  • avatar

    Just made your damn bikes and pianos and leave us alone, pack and move out of US. Kizashi is the previous gen Chevy Malibu, I would rather buy new one. We would like but cannot support all Japanese manufacturers. Russians may buy Suzuki for reasonable price (I would not since Ford Focus is available). Japanese companies tend to make everything. Mitsu makes cars, ships, airplanes, rocket launchers, TVs and other electronics, musical instruments, medical equipment, banking and list goes on and on. America simply cannot feed all these monsters. BTW Japan has trade deficit and debt is 200% of GDP. It is not like US is any better but exactly because of that US has limitation in supporting the whole global economy. In the end we have to care of ourselves too.

  • avatar
    darex

    The Kizashi had one of the most impressive interiors of the cars I sat in at the suto show two years ago. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one, but I don’t do “trunks”.

    • 0 avatar

      It may have the best interior in the industry but first you have to force yourself to ignore exterior to be able enjoy interior. SAAB used the same platform and was a nicer car. And where is SAAB now? Formula simply does not work. There are better cars around.


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