Marking Suzuki’s first entry in the mid-sized segment is the Kizashi, which translates to "something great is coming.” Suzuki anticipates that the vehicle’s sporty design and competitive price will prove to be too difficult for consumers to resist. In the European market, the Kizashi will be going up against the Volkswagen Passat, Opel/Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Mondeo. Later this month, the Kizashi is slated to debut in key markets such as Germany, France, Russia and the UK. Before the year ends, an all-wheel drive variant with a continuously variable transmission is expected to arrive. Suzuki said that it is not going to challenge the segment's top three sellers but instead, it aims to win sales from Japanese rivals such as the Toyota Avensis, Honda Accord and Mazda6 as well as French competitors such as the Citroen C5 and Peugeot 407.
The Kizashi is priced from 26,900 euros (about $37,460), making it 1,950 euros cheaper than the Avensis and more than 3,000 euros less than the Mazda6 with comparable engines. Suzuki expects to sell 700 Kizashis in Germany in 2010 and about 1,000 in 2011. Typically, the entire German market sells about 3 million units a year. Suzuki Europe chose not to disclose its sales goals for all of Europe.
Francesco Sini, Suzuki's group leader for product marketing and accessories, confessed that the carmaker is being conservative with its sales targets for its fastest (top speed of 215kph) and longest (4650mm) model in Europe. At a press event to launch the Kizashi, Sini said that the company is “hoping for to be surprised” with greater-than-expected demand for the car. He explained that expectations have been set low, and that one reason is that the Kizashi only offers a 2.4-liter gasoline engine in a segment that is dominated by diesels, especially in Germany. Sales are also expected to be low because a station wagon variant will not be offered. [via autonews - sub. required]