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In 2010, Volkswagen took a twenty-percent stake in Suzuki, and virtually no progress has been made from the alliance since then. Neither side has been thrilled with the coalition and the two automakers have even stated cultural differences as being a factor in the failed relationship.
Both automakers had different goals: VW wanted to expand into the Asian small-car market, while Suzuki wanted to take advantage of VW’s expertise in diesel, hybrid, and electric cars. As a result, Suzuki may be looking to take its talents to Italy.
Currently, Suzuki has made a deal with Fiat to supply the SX4 crossover for rebadging as the Sedici in Europe. Sources have indicated that Suzuki is looking for ways to further its relationship with Fiat, however the Italian automaker has not indicated whether the feeling is mutual.
As it stands, the Japanese and German automaker have clearly expected more out of this partnership, yet neither are progressing. Suzuki and VW are likely to split but the Japanese automaker has more to lose, so expect to see a move sooner rather than later.
[Source: Truck Trend]
Both Ford and Suzuki had high hopes heading into this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, but both were disappointed as neither automaker managed to run the 156 turn course in under 10 minutes.
Suzuki pilot Nobuhiro ‘Monster’ Tajima still managed to run the fasted time of the day, however, at 10 minutes, 15 seconds in his 885hp Monster Sport SX4 Hillclimb Special. While Tajima didn’t beat his time last year of 10 minutes and 1 second, he is still the Pikes Peak world record holder and reigning King of the Hill.
Ford’s efforts with two 800hp Fiestas, piloted by two of the world’s best rally drivers, came up significantly short of the mark as Marcus Gronholm managed only an 11:29 while Andreas Eriksson crashed his car during practice and again during the timed run.
GALLERY: Pikes Peak Ford Fiesta
GALLERY: Monster Sport SX4 Hillclimb Special
To help boost sales Suzuki is offering a simple incentive plan – free gas for the summer, when you buy an SX4 sedan or hatchback. Here’s how it works: when you buy an SX4 sedan or hatch your local Suzuki dealer will throw in a gas card. The card is valued at $270 for the sedan and $290 for the hatchback, which is what Suzuki estimates SX4 owners will spend on gas over the course of three months.
Suzuki is hoping this added bonus will be enough to attract owners, although when stacked up against the price of a car, $270 doesn’t sound all that enticing. And Suzuki is a company that should be working hard to attract customers as it has been one of the hardest-hit automakers during the current recession.
Sales for June were down 78 percent over the same month in 2008, and while some of the drop can be attributed to the elimination of three models from the company’s lineup (XL-7, Forenza and Reno), both the Grand Vitara and SX4 have struggled with sales down last month 69.1 and 53.2 percent.
Suzuki will bring a more driver-oriented SX4 Sportback model to market this year based on the SX4 Crossover. This five-door hatchback will get a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 150hp and 140 ft-lbs of torque and get a combined 26 mpg.
Buyers can opt for a CVT automatic transmission with paddle shifters or stick with the standard six-speed manual. The ride height will be lower than that of the Crossover model, with stiffer springs and shocks and a rear sway bar to enhance cornering capabilities.
The SX4 Sportback will ride on 17-inch wheels with 205/50/17 Dunlop rubber.
Outiside the SX4 Sportback will trade the Crossover’s roof-rack for a subtle aero kit. There will also be small changes to the front bumper and grille. A new rear spoiler will also be a part of the option.
Inside it will get power windows and locks, tilt steering, rear passenger floor vents and a new instrument cluster with faux-aluminum trim. XM Satellite radio compatibility will be standard, as will navigation.
The SX4 Sportback will launch as a 2010 model and is slated to go on sale this Fall.
Suzuki WRC fans have something to cheer about for the first time in four months. Yes, it’s been that long since the Japanese automaker announced it would with draw from the World Rally Championship, but now it seems they may already be planning a return.
RallyBuzz is reporting that Urmo Aava, who raced five seasons for the Suzuki team in the Junion World Rally Championship (JWRC), told the Estonian news website Postimees that Suzuki is building a new car and will “probably do a full WRC programme,” in 2011.
Aava made the comments while testing a Suzuki Swift S1600 rally car for the company’s JWRC team.
According to Aava, the new car is an S2000 spec vehicle, in keeping with the new “no-turbo” rules and while Suzuki has made no official comment since pulling out of WRC, comments were made earlier that Suzuki intended to race an SX4-based vehicle in the S2000 class.
GALLERY: Suzuki SX4 WRC
Sportbike inspired Zuk and SXForce Return
Suzuki doesn’t have a new vehicle for the New York Auto Show, but it’s resurrecting some SEMA Show cars that are so old old we had forgotten all about them and thought the company’s press release was about some new tricked out versions of the SX4.
But how can you forget a name like Zuk?
That’s right, the Suzuki-sportbike inspired Zuk has been dusted off and polished up for the Big Apple, this after it made it’s initial debut in Sin City back at the SEMA Show in 2006. The Zuk is based off the SX4 Crossover and features a Road Race Motorsports turbo kit, bolted to the factory 2.0-liter engine to make 300hp.
The car also features a complete aerodynamic overhaul, some big fart cans, a sizable rear spoiler and some 19-inch wheels. It reminds us of a more nostalgic time and makes us long for a copy of Modified Mag and Paul Walker on the big screen (the more things change, the more they stay the same…).
The exterior bodywork and paint is inspired from Suzuki’s GSX-R and Hayabusa sport bikes, while inside the motorcycle theme continues with a roll-cage that has a definite motorcycle-frame look to it.
The second SX4 is the SXForce, based on the SX4 Sport sedan version of the popular Suzuki model, and it first debuted at the SEMA Show in 2007. With 250hp and a carbon fiber body, the SXForce looks like it’s ready for track duty, and Suzuki claims it has been “track tested.”
It features Tein coilovers, a roll-cage, 18-inch Enkei wheels with 255/45/18 Toyo T1-R tires up front and 235/40/18s in the rear. It also features a Rotora six-piston calipers with 355mm rotors.
The sportbike theme continues on the SXForce with a motorcycle instrument cluster and controls, as well as Hayabusa handlebars instead of a traditional steering wheel.
Be sure to check out our coverage of the New York Auto Show starting Wednesday, April 8th.
GALLERY: Suzuki Zuk
GALLERY: Suzuki SX Force
More on these models as well as other past Suzuki SEMA Show cars after the jump: