Kizashi Club

Your Kizashi Owners Club and Forum 

Non-Suzuki related topics. Anything can go here.
 #48346  by KuroNekko
 Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:12 am
redmed wrote:Once again CAFE standards influencing what vehicles are available to us.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3yuv8jAorg


Blaming CAFE is a very weak argument compared to the vastly more influential reason of changing consumer trends; what's selling and what's not. The dude said it himself before talking about how CAFE may play a part. Also, CAFE applies to light trucks too, just differently. To blame CAFE for killing off unpopular, low-selling sedans in CUV, SUV, and truck-obsessed America is just dumb. If this was the case, ALL companies would ditch small sedans and hatches. Instead, GM is simply doing what it's historically always done; copy Ford.

Another reason everybody seems to forget is that companies charge more for CUVs hence they are more profitable for what is essentially a lifted version of a car. Go look at any CUV based on a particular sedan platform. They can have the same engine, transmission, and drivetrain yet the CUV will be thousands more than the sedan variant. Case in point: The base Subaru Impreza 5 door starts at roughly $19K meanwhile the base Subaru Crosstrek starts at roughly $22K. They are mechanically very similar and there is really not much difference other than styling for the $3000 difference. You can apply this to just about any sedan to CUV ranging from the Mazda2/Toyota iA vs. Mazda CX-3, Honda Fit vs. Honda HR-V, and many other CUVs ported from sedans. CUVs aren't only more popular, they start at a considerably higher price point despite a nominal difference in production costs which makes them more profitable.

The only vehicle I'm sad to see go is the Volt but I've wondered (even wrote about it here in the past) why GM didn't put the Voltec technology in a CUV instead of limiting it to a small sedan, especially in the second gen. I get it that it was an eco-car offering but small cars are already relatively fuel efficient. It would have been wiser to put it in a segment that sold more to boost fuel economy to make it even more attractive. I was expecting the new Equinox to have Voltec as an option yet when it was released, it was a diesel engine option that was offered... despite the VW dieselgate scandal preceding it. Meanwhile, Toyota is rolling in banknotes with the RAV4 and the hybrid version is selling well given it's actually the fastest and nicest version of the CUV, costing only $800 more than the gas version of the same trim.
 #48348  by BLyons
 Fri Nov 30, 2018 6:37 am
KuroNekko wrote:
Another reason everybody seems to forget is that companies charge more for CUVs hence they are more profitable for what is essentially a lifted version of a car.


At my prior job I looked over dealership financial statements all the time. Cars either make a small profit or lose money for them. SUVs and CUVs are more profitable like you said, and trucks are a big money maker, generally over 5k profit per vehicle.
 #48359  by Ronzuki
 Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:02 pm
And precisely why Suzuki left the country.
 #48392  by KuroNekko
 Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:42 am
Ronzuki wrote:And precisely why Suzuki left the country.


Na. Suzuki left because of their own doing. As much as I like their products, their management was Mitsubishi-level bad. They were very very slow to provide new models and didn't provide ones that people wanted/needed at the right time. They also allowed GM to sell POS Daewoos wearing the Suzuki emblem which greatly tarnished the Suzuki reputation. Many people had terrible experiences with those and associated the Suzuki brand with them for obvious reasons. When good genuine Suzukis came back, it was too late.

When the recession hit, Suzuki gave us the finest and most expensive car they ever made. What they should have done was bring the Swift, not the Kizashi. After all, smaller and cheaper cars rose in sales back then and the Suzuki Swift is among the very best small cars ever made. Whether bad luck or a gross miscalculation, either way, the Kizashi was the wrong car.

Years later when the economy rebounded and fuel prices dropped, consumers grew more interested in CUVs and SUVs again. Suzuki should have quickly turned the Vitara into a CUV and diverged it from the Grand Vitara. Both vehicles should have been bigger given the compact SX4 existed. Instead, they had killed the Vitara in the US and didn't offer a CUV replacement. It was not until years later that the Vitara returned as a CUV for the global market. The Grand Vitara remained unchanged and in fact, died out last year from Suzuki's line-up internationally, starting in Japan.

Suzuki was also lazy with powertrain development and relied on unreliable partnerships to source powerplants larger than a 2.4 liter 4 banger. This impeded them from offering a more powerful engine in the Kizashi or Grand Vitara and gave them reason not to build bigger vehicles. When other small companies were developing new engines on their own or new models, Suzuki was more interested in partnering up to piggyback engines.

The reason why Suzuki is popular in Asia is because Asians buy the kind of cars Suzuki specializes in which are small affordable cars. In places like India, the value and practical design appeal greatly to consumers. In Japan, Suzuki is nothing like the forgettable brand they were in the US and constantly pushes out new models, editions, and trims. However, nearly all of these models are JDM kei-cars so it has limited impact on other markets. In the US, they didn't seem to care and just wanted generic global models to sell here despite America's unique preferences in automobiles. Suzuki was essentially doing to the US what Ford was doing in Japan of not caring about specific market needs/trends. Consequently, both companies left each other's markets following dismal sales.

While CUVs and SUVs are now globally popular, Suzuki was never at an inherent disadvantage. In fact, they arguably invented the compact SUV and offered them literally decades before others. Suzuki made and sold SUVs long before Subaru, Mazda, or even Honda ever had a blueprint on one. However, these companies aren't run by mouth-breathers and when SUV/CUV sales were rising, they all scrambled to produce attractive and competitive CUVs in-house. In contrast, Suzuki kept selling dated models from yesteryear and did very little to make enticing products for a changing consumer market.

The Kizashi was supposed to be a come-back model for them but ended up as an unknown swan song in the US. They counted on it so much they even named it for its purpose. Kizashi means "harbinger" or arguably "omen" in Japanese. Unfortunately, the otherwise excellent sedan was met with a poor global economy and consumers looking for different kinds of cars. Not only did it fail in the US, it wasn't popular anywhere and its dismal failure caused Suzuki to retreat back to Asia to focus on small cars despite once being an original small SUV maker.

So no, the CUV/SUV trend didn't kill Suzuki in the US. It was their poor management and bad luck that did them in.
 #48393  by Woodie
 Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:47 am
KuroNekko wrote:So no, the CUV/SUV trend didn't kill Suzuki in the US. It was their poor management and bad luck that did them in.

Suzuki was steadily screwing up long before the CUV/SUV wave began. I've been wondering for 30 years why they couldn't seem to gain any traction here, it's a complicated equation with only small bits being their small car base and the US consumer's love for profligate waste.

Those of us in the GeoMetroForum and TeamSwift have been clamoring for the new Swift for 15 years. Why they didn't bring that Car of the Year to North America is a "New Coke" level blunder that will never be fully explained.
 #48398  by WESHOOT2
 Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:08 pm
And I still wistfully dream of years of continued development of the Kizashi. Can you image the new 2019 with its still-superior AWD mated to an enhanced lighter/stiffer/stronger platform, and its matured suspension improvements?
I also figure an 8-spd 'proper' dual-clutch tranny behind a turbo'd 2.4L with 260HP/310lb-ft of delicious torque.

Crap, I've described the Alfa.........
 #48399  by Ronzuki
 Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:02 am
So Kuro, you're saying Suzuki not making (ridiculous) SUV/CUV/Truck profits is not a cause to bail? You state above Americans want/wanted big expensive SUV/CUVs/ trucks (which many here in the U.S. 'want' and can't really afford in many ways. A completely different 'issue' and yet related to the 'why they left' discussion. Therefore, why would they not bail then? I certainly wouldn't devolve into something that wasn't in my core business model or expertise. They'll make their profits elsewhere serving those that appreciate their product and uniqueness.

I agree w/ your assessment of timing, the Daewoo debacle, poor advertising, and all, however the fact remains that the American 'mass'-market doesn't want what Suzuki excels at: small, economical, reliable. And, our lovely regulations don't allow for any of that anyway. So they simply left, and is the point I was attempting to make responding to yours and BLyons' observation.

I view the Kizashi as suffering the same fate as the Samurai...a great, well designed and engineered vehicle that we'll look back on an wish like hell we could still buy new.
 #48400  by KuroNekko
 Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:57 am
We can create all the excuses for Suzuki we want but in the end, they suffered poor sales and left the US market because no one bought their cars. Why? I think it's because they were either dated (their CUVs/SUVs) or not the right kind of car for the time (Kizashi). Ironically, smaller companies such as Mazda and Subaru (yes, hard to think they are smaller than Suzuki but certainly are in Japan and globally) actually adapted to the US market to increase sales. Both companies are doing well in the US market despite being smaller companies that only made a limited range of vehicles... just like Suzuki. Neither make trucks or full-size SUVs and most of their fleet run on 4 cylinders. The big difference is that these two companies actually made new and relevant products at key times unlike Suzuki. They both also invested in their own engine development unlike Suzuki. This gave them the autonomy to create new vehicles to adapt to the changing consumer market.

The most pathetic thing is that Suzuki not only made the kind of vehicles that were ideal at certain times, but had them long before many rivals. Suzuki could have brought the reputable Swift they had for generations elsewhere but didn't. Meanwhile sales of the Honda Fit, Subaru Impreza, and Toyota Yaris increased shortly after 2007.
Suzuki could have updated their compact CUVs and SUVs but didn't. Meanwhile sales of the XV Crosstrek, CR-V, RAV4, etc. increased after the economy rebounded. The Jeep Wrangler also gained in popularity and despite Suzuki making a baby version of it for 40 years, they weren't going to give us a USDM vehicle like that again.

In essence, their lack of a new products in their line-up in a sea of newer and more attractive rivals did them in. The Kizashi was supposed to save them but again, it was the wrong car at the time and their previous missteps pretty much gave the Kizashi almost no chance to succeed. It was the wrong car and too late. It's rather sad given just about every auto publication recognized the Kizashi as a worthy come-back vehicle for the brand but consumers simply weren't interested. In all honesty, I can't blame them. Suzuki was like how Mitsubishi is today. I mean really, would you buy a new Mitsubishi today?
 #48401  by Woodie
 Fri Dec 07, 2018 12:09 pm
WESHOOT2 wrote:And I still wistfully dream of years of continued development of the Kizashi. Can you image the new 2019 with its still-superior AWD mated to an enhanced lighter/stiffer/stronger platform, and its matured suspension improvements?
I also figure an 8-spd 'proper' dual-clutch tranny behind a turbo'd 2.4L with 260HP/310lb-ft of delicious torque.

Crap, I've described the Alfa.........


HAH!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Thanks WESHOOT2, nice start to my Friday.
 #48402  by Ronzuki
 Fri Dec 07, 2018 1:28 pm
Yeah, 'small' just doesn't get it done in the U.S. market....until....gas hits 4 bucks a gallon and stays there for a little while. Then everyone is scrambling looking to ditch their big CUVs, SUVs and trucks they couldn't afford to own and operate in the first place. Problem is, the small vehicle selection pool is becoming limited.

KuroNekko wrote:. I mean really, would you buy a new Mitsubishi today?


I took a look at their vehicles when I went in to pickup that o-ring for the K's CVT. Ironically, their use of CVTs was the sole reason Mitsu wasn't on my list to pursue at the time. Other than that, I found nothing wrong with the new models in the showroom I looked over. Didn't drive any either, so there's that. Had they been conventional ATs, and dealers were willing to deal on their prices and my trade, I'd have pursued Mitsu as I had Toyota, Subaru and Mazda. Admittedly, I really wasn't in to paying Toyota and Subaru prices when at the end of the day, most all new Japanese vehicles today are about the same as far as general reliability goes.