Suzuki hopes local dealers can help market new model
Suzuki, ever the underdog in the US market, cannot afford an all-out media blitz to promote the all-new 2010 Kizashi, but will instead funnel $30 million of this year’s marketing budget to US dealers. The funds that are given to the dealerships will be used to do local advertising and other promotional offers.
The small Japanese automaker hopes sales the Kizashi pulls them out of a sales slump. Sales dropped last year by 54 percent and this year sales are down another 44 percent. This is depressing news because the auto market is recovering while Suzuki is continuing to see sales decline.
Suzuki plans on spending the other half of its marketing budget on two national ads. One ad in particular will focus on the car’s affordable all-wheel-drive option. Perhaps the other ad will help teach tongue-tied Americans how to properly pronounce Kizashi.
According to Autonews.com, Suzuki hopes to sell 1,000 Kizashi’s monthly and later expand to 2,500 by the end of the year. If sales do pick up for the mid-sized sedan, the Kizashi may get a V6 option in the future. In our first look of the Kizashi last month, we felt that a V6 option with all-wheel-drive would really help the Kizashi shine.
Suzuki has a long road ahead of them to gain US market share, but they do have the right car to do it. The Kizashi is a solid car, with great features for the price. The problem is even spending $30 million is a drop in the bucket compared to what GM and Toyota spend on marketing their mid-sized sedans.
If Suzuki cannot turn around its current sales slump it may be forced in the future to leave the US market. Hopefully this does not happen, because it would be a shame to lose the Kizashi and SX4. Suzuki has always been a company that sold interesting compact cars. Who could forget the tiny Jeep-like Samurai? Who knows, if their marketing strategy is a success, maybe the company will be bold enough to bring the current model Samurai/Jimny back to the United States.