Remember the Suzuki Kizashi, which we saw at the Auto Expo 2010? Reports are coming in that we can see the Kizashi here in India from Maruti Suzuki very soon.
Updated 27/11/2010: The latest we hear is that there is a chance that the company might manufacture the Suzuki Kizashi in India instead of importing it as a CBU. However, this may not happen in the initial stages. Probably, manufacturing in India would begin only if Maruti Szuki is confident of reasonable sales for the car in India
The Kizashi is Suzuki’s attempt to get some attention in the highly lucrative large mid-size sedan segment across the world. In India, Suzuki’s biggest sedan so far was the Maruti Suzuki Baleno – which was loved by car enthusiasts, but failed to set the market alight. In India, the company was identified too much with econoboxes, not with a ‘high-status’ car. And the fact that Maruti did not get the pricing for the Baleno right did not help either.
The Suzuki Kizashi saw reasonable interest at the Auto Expo 2010 in New Delhi, and the company had still not said clearly that the car will be launched in India. Once bitten, twice shy! The production version of the car is quite different from the Suzuki Kizashi concept car, but it is still a good looker for sure.
But fact is, we Indians care a lot about our big cars – and we want them to look substantial, rich, costly. And the Suzuki Kizashi does that well. You would not easily associate the design of this car with a Suzuki – and that’s a good thing. Our belief is that the Suzuki Kizashi, when it comes in, would further reduce the demand for the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla Altis, both of which were hit by the introduction of the Chevrolet Cruze in India.
The Suzuki Kizashi sold about 300-400 units in North America in March 2010, up 81 per cent from its February sales. The company is hoping that sales of the Kizashi will pull the company out of its current slump in the North American market. The company recently decided not to launch a V6 and hybrid version of the car as the demand was not high enough there.
The Kizashi is available abroad in four trim levels, but we do not know which of them would be available when the car is launched in India.
The car is available in both CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) and manual transmission versions, and also in AWD (all wheel drive) and FWD (front wheel drive) modes. What combination would be brought to India by the company is not clear so far.
Expectations are that the Kizashi would be priced at around Rs 12-14 lakhs by Suzuki. Pricing would be critical: The Chevy Cruze managed high sales as the car was seen as super value for money compared to the Honda and Toyota offerings. One of the rare cases when an American car company managed to beat established Japanese competition with a reputation for reliability. Suzuki will have to do the same with the Kizashi’s pricing: Price it at the low end of the market, but offer enough features and goodies to attract the buyer.
Suzuki currently dominates the compact car segment in India with its Alto, A-Star, Ritz, Swift, Estilo and WagonR models, and has a substantial presence in the small sedan market with its Swift Dzire and also has a mid-size sedan Suzuki SX4.