After several announcements of various models that were awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s “Top Safety Pick Plus” rating, the IIHS has released its full list of its safest cars for 2013.
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14. Acura ZDX
As 2012 winds to an end, AutoGuide looks back at all the vehicles that received the axe this year, some that will be missed, while others surely won’t be.
Starting it off is the Acura ZDX, a crossover that had a very tough time breaking into the market. Priced at around $51,815 including delivery, the ZDX was hardly a hot seller for the Japanese automaker, and it’s clear that Acura can’t wait to move forward from it.
Titled “Sled”, Suzuki will be showing off their all-wheel drive 2012 Kizashi sport sedan for this year’s Super Bowl commercial. The Kizashi is also the same vehicle Suzuki showed off in their Super Bowl ad last year, which was the company’s first ever.
The ad was developed by Siltanen & Partners Advertising, and hopes to illustrate the “exhilaration one can receive from upgrading their ordinary daily driver with a more entertaining mode of transportation.” Unfortunately not many of us can relate from having to use a dog sled as a method of transportation, but we think you get the point.
The ad won’t be the only thing Suzuki is kicking off on Super Bowl Sunday. The automaker will also be giving away BARKCODE tags to the first 1,000 consumers to register on www.KizashiKicks.com/sled. Each BARKCODE tag is a personalized pet identification tag with a scannable 2D code, allowing pet owners to be reunited if their furry friends become lost or misplaced during a natural disaster. With each tag ordered, BARKCODE will donate $3.00 on behalf of Suzuki to the American Red Cross.
Watch the commercial after the break.
Suzuki is hopping on the hybrid bandwagon with their new Kizashi EcoCharge, a concept car designed to hint at the possibility of a hybrid Kizashi. Suzuki claims that the Kizashi will deliver a 25 percent increase in fuel economy without any performance drawbacks, thanks to a 144 horsepower 2.0L 4-cylinder gasoline engine and a 20 horsepower electric motor.
Unlike other hybrids, the electric motor merely acts as a performance booster for the car’s conventional powertrain, while a start-stop system, regenerative braking and cylinder deactivation help with fuel economy. A 6-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels while low rolling resistance tires help increase fuel efficiency.
Debuting on the even of the New York Auto Show, look for live photos of this new concept tomorrow with AutoGuide’s 2011 New York Auto Show coverage here.
With Suzuki stating that the new reveal will bring the “Kizashi to the next level,”, we’re left wondering whether this may be the long awaited Kizashi turbo. A power boost might help the flaccid sales of this wonderful sedan, but with such limited ad dollars being spent on the car, we have to wonder whether some more grunt is really the answer.
As for Suzuki’s other reveal, well, we’ll have the answer for you when we cover the New York Auto Show in mid-April. Your guess is as good as ours.
[Source: Left Lane News]
The Suzuki Kizashi may have enjoyed critical acclaim (and rightly so) but it’s sales figures have never been stellar. Suzuki is planning to sell the Kizashi in the UK later in 2011, and while Suzuki only plans on selling 500 units, it’s difficult to imagine the car being anything more than a low-volume curiosity.
With only a 2.4L 4-cylinder, a CVT gearbox and all-wheel-drive, the Kizashi will go up against fully loaded players like the Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo, two established cars beloved by buyers on the other side of the pond. A lack of a diesel option will also hurt Suzuki, but the company thinks that the AWD system will allow it to attract buyers who may gravitate towards Subaru and AWD Vauxhall models. We wish them luck. They’ll need it.
To say Suzuki is struggling a bit in North America is an under statement. After posting record sales of 101,884 units in 2007, their sales took a drastic turn for the worse in 2009 when they shifted just 38,689 vehicles. 2010 is not looking good either as sales are again down by a lethal 42%.
At this rate, Suzuki could go extinct, but they are not going to give up that easy. To help boost their image and brand awareness, Suzuki is launching a whole host of new TV adverts promoting the Kizashi to catch your eye.
The new ads feature the Kizashi competing against cars like the Mercedes-Benz C300, the Audi A4 and the Volvo S40 – all vehicles that seem to be out of its league. The ads highlight the Suzuki’s better handling and braking and also value for money. For humor, they also pit the Kizashi against a stretch limo, a motorized sofa and a bubble wrap man!
These type of ads are nothing new. Back in the 1980′s, Hyundai used to have ads pitting their Stellar against the Mercedes-Benz E-class and more recently Hyundai brought ads of that type back.
Suzuki is ensuring people will see these ads, as they will be aired from Christmas day, and will be played next year during programs like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars.
Will these new ads help Suzuki sell more cars? Only time will tell, but do check out one of the ads below or hit the link to view them all.
[Source: Kizashi Kicks]
Suzuki, everyone’s favorite forgotten automaker, is still alive and kicking, and set to bring a number of vehicles to SEMA, including two Kizashis and an Equator pickup truck.
First up will be the Kizashi Bonneville Special, a 500 horsepower turbocharged Kizashi that was able to hit nearly 204 mph at the famed salt flats, setting a new record in its class. Joining it will be the Delta Tech Kizashi, which is festooned with LED lights and a body kit from noted Cavalier tuner RK Sport, making it the polar opposite of the Bonneville Kizashi.
Finally, a customized Equator by ICON Vehicle Dynamics will appear, featuring a custom suspension, an exhaust header and an off-road wheel and tire package. SEMA may be the only time you ever see a Suzuki Equator, so if you don’t have a good reason to head to Vegas, you do now.
Suzuki‘s Swift compact car won near universal praise in Europe and Asia, winning Car of the Year awards in the UK and Japan, as well as seeing duty in international rally championships.
Suzuki was all set to bring the next generation Swift to North America, as a follow-up to their Kizashi sedan, but the project was canceled just before the car was slated to be approved by government regulators. According to two Suzuki spokesman, the desire to look for synergies with VW, as well as difficult exchange rates, made the Swift’s importation more difficult than the company would have liked. A reduction in the company’s marketing budget may have also played a part. If the Swift does make it to North America, expect it to be here this time next year.
As a part of Suzuki‘s ongoing push to drum up interest in the surprisingly good Kizashi sedan, the Japanese automaker teamed up with Road & Track to build a Bonneville Salt Flats racer. Thanks to engine builder Richard Holdener and the fearless driving skills of R&T editor Sam Mitani, Suzuki got the record it was looking for with a 203.720 mph run, clinching the new Land Speed Record for the Blown Gas Coupe Category
For video of the run and more info about the turbocharged Kizashi land speed record car, hit the jump:
With sales falling 75 percent since their record-setting year in 2007, Suzuki has taken the drastic measure of buying out 50 of its worst performing stores in the United States.
Since 2007, when Suzuki sold just over 100,000 cars, the brand has gone from 486 franchises to 300. Most dealers are selling just five cars per month, with buyout package dealers selling roughly 2 per month. Dealers were offered one of two packages, a $50,000 buyout plus a buyback of inventory, signage, special tools and other items, or a $20,000 buyout for dealers who did not participate in a Suzuki sponsored showroom upgrade program.
While Suzuki officials say that they launched the program to give unprofitable dealers an exit strategy, and to help strengthen showrooms that are successful, some observers see this as the begging of the end for the struggling Japanese automaker’s foray into the United States.
Road & Track magazine is helping prep a Suzuki Kizashi to attack two land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats. In conjunction with master race car builder Richard Holdener, the team from R&T will attack the naturally aspirated Gas Coupe class, as well as the turbocharged Blown Gas Coupe category.
The naturally aspirated record is a meager 103 mph, a velocity that virtually any production car could easily surpass, and this record should be a wash for the Suzuki. The Blown Gas Coupe category on the other hand, has a loftier goal of 203 mph, and the Kizashi is going to need some serious changes to hit the mark. A roll cage, aluminum racing seat and some fancy engine components are seen in the video, while Holdener talks about a parachute system to slow the car down. R&T plans on periodically released a short video clip, so you’ll just have to periodically check back for more coverage.
[Source: Road & Track]
Suzuki is so confident that you will like their new Kizashi sedan, that they are offering customers $250 if they test drive a Kizashi and then purchase one of its rivals.
Included in the offer are the four-cylinder versions of the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Mazda6, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima or Chevrolet Malibu. Curiously, the Hyundai Sonata was excluded, possibly due to it winning rave reviews in nearly every press review since its launch.
Customers will have to go to a Suzuki showroom, fill out a form, test drive a Kizashi, and then, if they buy a rival within three days, they get a $250 debit card.
The $250 offer is a bit of a risky gambit for Suzuki, since it acts like an incentive to buy a rival vehicle. However, Suzuki figures that the Kizashi will sell itself, and truthfully, Suzuki needs all the publicity it can get. With a low marketing budget and little brand recognition (ask people if they’ve heard of the Kizashi and you’ll get blank stares), the Kizashi could end up being a fantastic vehicle that’s torpedoed by factors beyond its control.
[Source: USA Today]
One day after spy photos of the new Suzuki Swift were captured, Suzuki has released official shots of their new MINI-rivaling subcompact, and the car looks great, despite it being more of an evolution than a clean-sheet design. The car is slightly long, lower and wider and weight has been reduced, though Suzuki didn’t specify how much mass has been trimmed from the already sprightly car.
A 1.2L gasoline engine putting out 92 horsepower and 87 lb-ft of torque will be available at launch, with a diesel option to follow. Fuel economy is 56.5 mpg on the combined European cycle, an improvement of nearly 8 mpg from the outgoing 1.3L unit. Straight line speed will never be the Swift’s best area, but the legendary handling of the last-generation car (Britain’s EVO magazine, regarded as the sports car driver’s Bible, gave it a 4/5 rating, calling it a “miniature hero”) should carry over to the new car.
The Swift is set to go on sale in Europe at the end of the summer, with a starting price of roughly $16,000, going square up against the MINI for hot hatch supremacy. The Swift has a shot at coming to North America, where it could also compete with the MINI and new offerings like the Ford Fiesta, but Suzuki seems to be throwing their limited funds behind the Kizashi, and hoping that the mid-size sedan will resurrect the brand.
The 2011 Suzuki Swift has been spied on the Nurburgring in full camouflage, but now, uncovered examples have been spotted on a transport truck in Hungary, giving us a closer look at the car’s styling. Only the rear was visible, but it’s safe to say that the design is an evolution of the current Swift’s looks.
No technical details have been announced, but with the current Swift being widely praised for its driving dynamics, expect the requisite power increases and chassis tweaks. We’re hoping Suzuki decides to bring this car to North America, as it seems like a perfect companion to their excellent mid-size Kizashi sedan.
When it comes to modified imports, Suzuki isn’t the first name that pops into your head. But Road Race Motorsports, a California based Suzuki tuner, decided that the Kizashi was due for some upgrades, and the end result is a car that has transitioned from mild-mannered sports sedan into something entirely different.
Road Race Motorsports’ turbo kit is a comprehensive package featuring a 16G turbocharger, intercooler, water cooling spray and other necessary hardware. The package takes the Kizashi from a stock 185 horsepower up to 290 horsepower, putting the 2.4L four-cylinder in the same league as most rival’s six-cylinder engines.
The car made its premiere this past weekend on Speed Channel’s “Test Drive” program with host Tommy Kendall. See a clip of that show plus the official press release after the jump:
GALLERY: Suzuki Kizashi Turbo Concept
Official release after the jump:
We still have more than half of 2009 to go and already the list of 2010 North American Car & Truck of the Year nominees have been picked. That’s because the list is essentially a list of every new model for 2010.
Nominated for car of the year are: the Audi S4, BMW Z4, BMW 335d, BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Fusion, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Mustang, For Mustang GT500, Ford Taurus, Ford Taurus SHO, Honda Insight, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Kia Forte, Kia Soul, Lexus HS250h, Lotus Evora, Mazda3, MazdaSpeed3, Mercedes E-Class, Nissan Cube, Nissan 370Z, Porsche Panamera, Subaru Legacy, Suzuki Kizashi, Toyota Prius, Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Golf TDI.
The 2010 North American Truck of the Year list is only slightly shorter and includes: the Acura ZDX, BMw X5 xDrive 35d, Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Transit Connect, GMC Terrain, Honda Crosstour, Land Rover LR4, Lincoln MKT, Subaru Outback, Toyota 4Runner and Volvo XC60.
Many off these vehicles have yet to be officially released and some (like the Honda Crosstour) haven’t even been officially named yet.
Jurors will now begin the lengthy process of making a short list, with the final winners chosen at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Last year’s winners were the Hyundai Genesis and the Ford F-150.