American Suzuki Motors just announced an unusual promotion for its all-new Kizashi sport sedan, which is going on sale. The Suzuki Kizashi Test Drive incentive program runs from December 2, 2009, to January 31, 2010, and pays consumers $100 if they test-drive a Suzuki Kizashi against an Audi A4 2.0T or Acura TSX four-cylinder but don't buy the Kizashi. Complete details are at www.suzukiauto.com.
There are several strong messages here. First, Suzuki hasn't been shy about the fact that its very future in America hinges on the success of the Kizashi. American Suzuki's sales, long dependent on its small SUVs and crossovers, have plummeted over the past couple of years. The company's problem is that most people don't even realize thatSuzuki makes cars,muchlessput themon their shopping lists. We've been impressed by the compact Suzuki SX4, especially the Sportback and Crossover hatchback models, which are about the cheapest way to get a new all-wheel-drive vehicle.
We've also been impressed by the Kizashi, so we've ordered up an all-wheel-drive model for our Four Seasons test fleet. Our initial impressions are that Suzuki isn't nuts in trying to place the Kizashi in the same league as the Audi A4 and the Acura TSX. If you can get past the lack of a premium badge, you will probably be shocked by how good the Kizashi is.
Basically, American Suzuki has little to lose with this promotion. It has to get the word out that not only is Suzuki making cars,it's making a very attractive, fun-to-drive sport sedan. Suzuki notes that the Kizashi with manual transmission starts at $26,473, against a comparably equipped Acura TSX at $33,220; and the Kizashi AWD with CVT transmission starts at $27,484, against a comparably equipped Audi A4 Quattro at $35,375.
By Joe DeMatio