The Truth About Cars » suzuki kizashi The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:36:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » suzuki kizashi Suzuki Death Watch 15: Kizashi Bests Camry In A Bittersweet Final Victory Thu, 20 Dec 2012 13:00:27 +0000

Kizashi Beats Camry! No, it’s not a reprise of Dewey Beats Truman, but the Suzuki Kizashi landed a parting shot against mid-size kingpin the Toyota Camry, soundly beating it in the latest round of IIHS crash testing.

The Kizashi, along with the Honda Accord, were the only two cars to receive a “Good” rating in the 40 mph front offset crash test. The Toyota Camry, along with the Prius V receieved a “Poor” rating, with Automotive News reporting

In both of Toyota’s vehicles, the crash caused significant intrusion into the occupant compartment — in the case of the Camry, the front wheel was forced sharply backward toward the driver’s feet. The driver-side airbags also failed to fully prevent a blow to the test dummy’s head in both crashes.

Too little, too late for Suzuki. But it must be nice to know that it beat the Camry at least once.


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Suzuki Dealer, District Manager, Indicted For Fraud Thu, 20 Sep 2012 16:20:06 +0000

Two high-volume Suzuki dealerships in South Carolina are at the center of a federal fraud case, as a dealer and Suzuki district manager are among those indicted on three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Paul M. Gibson, who operated two Suzuki dealers in South Carolina, as well as Brian J. Sullivan, the Suzuki district manager responsible for Gibson’s stores and 8 other defendants, were indicted. The charges center on claims of false advertising and fraudulent loan documents.

Automotive News reports that 

“Ads promised, among other things, that customers could drive a new Suzuki “for life” for payments of $99 per month or less, according to the indictment. Other ads said that customers could have a new car for six, nine or 12 months for minimal payments, trade in the car after a set term, “and obtain a new car at no cost,” the indictment alleged.

“…dealerships advertised low monthly payments, while staffers told customers that Suzuki would provide the dealership with funds to pay, on behalf of the customers, the difference between the higher monthly payments listed on retail installment sales contracts and the low promotional rates customers agreed to pay. 

Customers who attempted to trade their vehicles in after the stated time period would attempt to do so only to find out that they couldn’t obtain a new car under the previously promised terms. The indictment also alleges that the dealership and its employees falsified loan documents, while telling customers to ignore the doctored papers

“…the contracts listed vehicle values far in excess of the market values of the cars in question. When customers asked about the inflated values and corresponding high monthly payments, the defendants told the customers to “totally disregard any of the numbers on the contracts because they would never be obligated to pay anything more than the agreed, low monthly promotional amounts,” the indictment said.”

Should the defendants be found guilty, they could each face a maximum of 60 years in prison and a $750,000 fine.


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Suzuki Death Watch 1: The Prologue Tue, 17 Jul 2012 12:00:16 +0000

When the question of whether a Death Watch should be started for Suzuki was first posed here at TTAC in April, there was a lot going on behind the scenes at the stylized “S” brand but not many facts filtering out to the public.

As of today, TTAC’s Death Watch starts for Suzuki’s North American operations. And if you haven’t been following the drama, here’s some background for you…

Once an established niche brand making big deals with GM and high on success, American Suzuki has continually lost dealers since 2005, either due to dealers deciding to leave the brand or Suzuki offering $50,000 buyout packages for proprietors to wind down their operations. More than half of the remaining 246 dealers sell less than five new vehicles a month, which is not surprising considering Suzuki only has four models to choose from in the United States. In Canada, the Equator is no longer offered, so dealers north of the border must rely on the Grand Vitara, SX4, and Kizashi.

The changes aren’t just in the stores. In Brea, California, home of American Suzuki’s HQ, cost-cutting seems to have become the focus instead of a support exercise. Head of marketing, Steve Younan, left the company in January and no replacement has been hired to fill the role. Director of public relations, Jeff Holland, also quietly left Suzuki without a replacement announced. The company ended its agreement with J.D. Power and Associates for consumer satisfaction data with no replacement. Suzuki’s social media presence on Facebook has showed a couple signs of life recently, but the corporate Twitter account, @SuzukiAuto, has been disabled. As for future product, the biggest announcements have been refreshes to the SX4 and Grand Vitara, which are both getting on in years.

American Suzuki President Seiichi Maruyama and chairman Takashi Iwatsuki seem to be gutting the company, like some kind of automotive themed slasher flick.

On the other hand, global Suzuki operations have never been better. Maruti Suzuki in India enjoys significant success while the Suzuki Swift, not available in North America, receives repeated acclaim and accolades from the automotive press and car buying public.

So, is American Suzuki just winding down operations and finalizing their legal obligations before pulling the plug? Or is something larger at play in Brea? Only time will tell. But, it isn’t looking good, folks.

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Time To Start The Suzuki America Death Watch? Mon, 16 Apr 2012 13:00:19 +0000

Kizashi apparently means “omen”, sign or “warning” – it also means “something great is coming”, but the only thing on Suzuki’s American horizons is a bleak future.

Suzuki sales have been dismal. The brand was down two percent last month, despite surging car sales. Suzuki has also consistently lost dealers since 2005, shedding 12 percent of its sales network in 2011 alone. Five years ago, the company moved over 100,000 units in the United States – in 2011, it was barely one quarter of their 2005 figure.

One dealer told Automotive News that 60 percent of dealers sell 5 or fewer new cars per month. With an aging lineup and a vague new product rollout schedule, Suzuki’s management appears to be focused on cutting costs rather than digging their heels in for the long-term. Reporting customer satisfaction data to J.D. Power has been canned by management, and the brand’s Twitter and Facebook pages are dormant. Advertising campaigns at both the regional and national level have been similarly lacking.

The drastic drop in sales since 2005 could also be correlated to the rise of Hyundai and Kia, whose products have made enormous strides in the last 5 years. It may have been somewhat rational to buy a Suzuki SX4 or Grand Vitara over a comparable Korean car, but nowadays, one would have to have a powerful reality distortion field to make that choice.

Suzuki’s future in America is even more tragic given that the brand’s best car, the Swift, isn’t even sold here. The Swift has been praised by numerous outlets, including EVO and Top Gear, two British snob rags of the highest order. At the Geneva Auto Show, the brand displayed a 75 mpg concept that used an 800cc engine and weighed 1600 lbs. If that’s not engineering ingenuity, not much else is. The Kizashi is a competent entrant into the mid-size category, but about to be left behind by the competition. The SX4 and Grand Vitara are hopelessly outdated, and the brand badly needs an injection of new product. About the only saving grace Suzuki has right now is India, but as Ed pointed out in his bit about Suzuki’s fortunes in the sub-continent, the brand could re-position itself to take Subaru’s low-cost, rugged AWD niche, now that Subaru is becoming what Audi once was. The SX4 AWD is the cheapest new car with AWD, and there’s even a small but high-quality aftermarket for it. Even if Suzuki goes under in America, they will always have their motorcycles – and I’ll have a source of cheap vehicles for my future rally campaign (with the low price of an orphan vehicle, buying spares and performance upgrades might be feasible).

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Suzuki To Broadcast Super Bowl Ad – Who Is Suzuki Again? Fri, 27 Jan 2012 15:31:37 +0000

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?

Click here to view the embedded video.

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