Suzuki: It's SUVasauri Not SUVasauruses. Jeez.

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Students of the automotive industry know that manufacturers are on a five-year timeline. You spend a few bil updating your gas-guzzling SUVs a couple of years before Hurricane Katrina and BAM! Rising gas prices send sales to the Mariana Trench. Such is life. Such is evolution. Of course, there is a bit of wiggle room: sales and marketing. You can “re-position” a product to suit the temper of the times. Then again, that’s a bad idea. One of the Immutable Laws of Branding: don’t change your core brand message. Ever. (Ultimate Drive that, Buick.) Conversely, it’s never a good sign when a car’s advertising doesn’t change to reflect current reality. It’s a sure indication of stifling bureaucratic sloth. Now that gas prices have tumbled, and then tumbled again, and then tumbled some more, any manufacturer selling a vehicle based on gas prices is so far behind the curve they make the Great Plains look like a roller coaster. Don’t get me wrong. I like Suzuki’s products. But this ad for the Grand Vitara was stillborn. Just let it go Suzi, let it go.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

More by Robert Farago

Join the conversation
4 of 17 comments
  • Dean Dean on Nov 13, 2008

    I thought it was a cool video. I don't see any problem with it.

  • Geotpf Geotpf on Nov 14, 2008
    dean : November 13th, 2008 at 10:16 pm I thought it was a cool video. I don’t see any problem with it. The problem is that gas prices are back down to the "before" figure in the video ($1.75/gal) in some places, as opposed to the after ($5.05/gal). This ad should have been scrapped the minute it started to look like that might happen. Then again, this might have actually have been scrapped. Looking at who posted it on YouTube, it wasn't Suzuki itself, but a Suzuki dealer, who mentioned that it was "prior to the final touches" (disclaimers and crap). I'll bet the pre-release version that was given to the dealer for internal use only, and he leaked it without Suzuki's permission. I'll bet that Suzuki cans this ad and never uses it officially.
  • Brandloyalty Brandloyalty on Nov 14, 2008

    Actually Suzuki has produced a series of entertaining short videos about the Grand Vitara. I've seen one with a green Grand Vitara on safari somewhere. I think they're aimed at a demographic more devoted to YouTube and downloaded videos, than old farts like us. This particular video strikes me as being aimed at future customers. My daughter loves our '06 Grand Vitara, and she'll really like this video. If you like seeing Grand Vitaras in videos, check out the transsiberia rally website to see a couple of 2-door versions take on hordes of Porsche Cayennes, and fare fairly well. YouTube has a growing collection of videos of people probing the Grand Vitara's off-road capabilities. This video glosses over the fact that the Grand Vitara, as a result of being in 4wd all the time, gets lower mileage than similar sized cuv's. But, the content of this video shows that corporate Suzuki 'GETS' these issues, which is more than can be said for the Big 3. It's also nice to see they have a sense of humor. As for staying truer to Suzuki's roots, the small and simple Jimny 4x4 is popular in other markets where smaller vehicles are more popular. North America is just a small market for the Grand Vitara anyway, which is sold over most of the globe. In most of those places, the Grand Vitara is the sort of large high-end suv that this video beats on. I'd like to see off-road versions of the SX4 and the Grand Vitara, but they'd sell in uneconomically small numbers in North America. How about factory lift kits and skid plates, then? Even if the Grand Vitara is bigger than what it used to be, it's still a trim alternative to larger suv's in our market. One concern is Suzuki's own XL7, which certainly is not a small vehicle even in the US. Maybe Suzuki internally regards the XL7 for what it is: a minvan with hinged rear doors. Maybe this video isn't for North America after all, since this is the only place the XL7 is sold. Nice to see Suzuki get a nod here at TTAC.

  • Brandloyalty Brandloyalty on Nov 14, 2008

    Here's the location of the Grand Vitara video I referred to in the previous post: --or here, in better resolution--