A Swift Sidekick by a Samurai: New Suzuki Kizashi (Gesundheit!)
Suzuki has been slapped around in the U.S. market for years. I mean, how long did it take for them to settle the Samurai rollover suit with Consumer Reports? Eight years. Damn that moose test. Yet seppuku has never been an option for Suzuki. To the contrary, they have decided to move the vehicle line upscale. Introducing the all-new Kashi bar. I mean the all-new Kizashi car. At least it’s all new for this market. The Kizashi has been the number one selling car for five years in a row in Japan, according to their microsite.
Suzuki cars or, rather, their small SUVs never caught on here for whatever reason. Bad marketing, sure. Rollover scandals didn’t help. Unappealing and small 4x4s, bingo. But that’s all in the past. These are Japanese vehicles, how bad could they be? Heck the company is the only car manufacturer to remain profitable every year since 1951. Someone is buying their cars.
J.D. Power states “. . . quality has dramatically improved in recent years, and that its residual values are rising to parity.” So with this in mind, should it be hard to believe that something great is coming from Suzuki? Hopefully not, because that’s what Kizashi means in Japanese: “Something Great is Coming.” Given the economic times and their latest sales figures, I can’t blame them for “projecting.” It clearly took more thought than naming your car Nova then sending it down to Mexico.
It’s just too bad their marketing doesn’t give things more thought. Their ads are all over the place from Mini comparos, cool hip club scenes, Jeep wannabe 4x4s to leaning on its motorcycle line. All in the hopes that hanging out with the cool kid will make them cool. If Suzuki is going to make it with their new car, and the rest of their lineup, they are going to need to send in a Samurai.
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