The mid-sized sedan segment is a highly competitive one and for Suzuki to get ahead, it will allocate half of the new Kizashi sedan's $30 million marketing budget in 2010 to US dealers, according to Kevin Saito, president of American Suzuki Motor Corp. Suzuki didn´t have the budget for a national launch and after listening to the dealer advisory board, it decided to redistribute the marketing funds, said Scott Pitman, president of Suzuki of Wichita in Kansas.
Last year, its sales dropped by 54% in the US, more than double the industry's decline. The new Kizashi sedan has started arriving in showrooms. In January 2010, sales were 44% lower than the same month last year. What makes this more depressing is that the market rose 6%.
According to Greg Chaney, of Chacon Suzuki in Dallas and New Braunfels, Texas, the budget for each car is significant but since its rivals are selling 5 or 10 times as many cars as it does, then every dollar has to count.
He added that each dealer would be able to use the funds well, whether on TV, radio, or print. Koichi Suzuki, American Suzuki executive vice president, said that Suzuki will have two national ads: a traditional car-launch ad and the other one focusing on the car's available all-wheel-drive capability.
After the annual make meeting at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention, executives and dealers had the opportunity to speak.
Suzuki is hopeful that dealers sell about 1,000 Kizashis monthly and be able to expand that to 2,500 within the year. Suzuki says that it will consider building either a hybrid or V-6 derivative if it is able to generate 5,000 Kizashis a month in global volume.
After this, Suzuki would then use the Kizashi platform for other vehicles, and consider replacing the departed XL-7 crossover. A new plant in Japan with a 250,000-unit annual capacity builds the Kizashi.