By on November 13, 2008

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.

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17 Comments on “Suzuki: It’s SUVasauri not SUVasauruses. Jeez....”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Gas is 1.65 here in Indy and continuing to drop daily.
    I thought it was a stretch in October to predict below $2 by Christmas.
    Now it’s not impossible that we’ll see 99 cents at some point.
    I filled up my Saturn for 15 bucks.

  • avatar
    Vorenus

    Um… Did something happen that made a rebound in gas prices an impossibility? I ask only because everyone’s talking like down is the only direction they’ll go now, so I’m sure I’ve missed something.

    Until someone tells me that we’ve discovered an unlimited fossil fuel supply somewhere, I’m going to assume that I haven’t seen the last of $4 gas.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    When your commercial ends with “This really sucks”, you know you have a loser on your hands.

    What, was Brooke Shields not available? How about Joe Isuzu?

    Reminds me of the product idea I had for Ford 14 years ago: the T-Rexplorer. An SUV that could transform itself into a dinosaur and eat the cars in front of you if you were stuck in traffic.

    Yeah, it was a dumb idea back then and it’s still a dumb idea.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    @Vorenus:

    certainly gas prices will go up again
    the problem is knowing when

    it must be hell to be a product planner these days

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Well, in the meantime I bought a hybrid that’s given me and my wife 47.3 mpg so far. That number is even a bit down given that I had to replace an 02 Sensor on it yesterday.

    A commercial fails when it gives you all the reasons why you shouldn’t buy the very same type of vehicle that you’re trying to sell.

    VW is letting their advertising agencies pull off the same type of stupid with the Routan.

    On a small side note, I’m wondering why they aren’t trying to sell the Grand Vitara as a more fun alternative to the Mazda 5 and Kia Rondo. An SUV with the same mileage as the CUV with far more power, a better look, and a better warranty.

    I could see that working…

  • avatar
    kovachian

    Come now, they’re not that far behind. It seems like just last week when I was paying $80 to fill up a tank that had cost only $38 to fill up two years earlier.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    I don’t know if suzuki car/motorcycle divisions are separate, but they are one of THE top motorcycle manufacturers in the world. For _AGES_ they have been advertising their motorcycles as gas savers at 40mpg+. Not sure what the eff their 4 wheel division is doing.

    Also: The cheapest local places around are in the mid $2.40’s for gas here in Chicago. I still see some stations around $3.00 for regular.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    Act now a get your Suzuki SUV Lite! Less Gas Guzzling!

    Until the introduce the product the ad really had me. The visual of the dinosaur shotgunning the oil drums is great. “Sorry the SUVasauruses drank all the vacation $”

  • avatar
    slinkster

    You know that this is going to wind up as part of Al Gore’s next slide presentation…

  • avatar
    Wolven

    You know that this is going to wind up as part of Al Gore’s next slide presentation…

    Didn’t Al Gore write that? It’s straight out of the Greenies night time stories for kids play book.

  • avatar
    Blunozer

    I think it’s a great ad… For the wrong product.

    Suzuki used to have a great minimilist SUV with the Samurai/Sidekick, but abandoned it with the bloated Grand Vitara.

    Suzuki needs to bring back a modernized Samurai, and bring the Swift (not the crappy Aveo rebadge Swift+) to North America if they want to stay relevent.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    It’s got 65 more horsiepower than the CR-V! Yes it does and if you use them then you won’t get 26 mpg.

    I still like the ‘zuki, the VW CUV, and the CR-V. All great product which despite being considered small are the same size as the Chevy S-10 series that we called mid-sized in the 80s.

    My 1st gen CR-V is still getting 26 mpg reliably in mixed driving after 166K miles.

    Yes, gas is down to $1.96 here in rural mid-TN but I would not be surprised to see it back up near $4 per gallon next summer.

    We shouldn’t move away from fuel efficiency and discussions of other ways to get around town (EVs). Even if it is cheap we’re still buying alot of oil from folks that don’t like us and from companies who count their profits first and damage to our world and heart second or third or fourth.

  • avatar
    Kyle Schellenberg

    I think it’s ridiculous to assume that somehow the gas crisis has somehow magically disappeared. If that’s the case then I guess the Big 2.8 don’t need bail out bucks because they can start selling their gas-guzzling TruckUVs again.

    Gas prices are depressed because the world economy is going through a deep intestinal fart and people have stopped spending money to excess.

    When buyer confidence returns, they’ll go back to mindlessly pumping gas for important 2-block drives to the convenience store. Then the oil industry will start reminding us that there’s this shortage thingy and the prices will start their slow ascent up Everest.

  • avatar
    dean

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

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    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.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    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 4×4 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.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Here’s the location of the Grand Vitara video I referred to in the previous post:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy2Tr2GykPw

    –or here, in better resolution–
    http://www.savetherhino.com.au/

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