Suzuki Adding More Utes

The utility vehicle segment is getting crowded, but American Suzuki Motor Corp. still sees room for growth and soon will have two new entries. First up is a small cross/utility vehicle that will debut in concept form at the New York auto show in March. The vehicle will be produced in Japan and arrives in the fall as an '06 model, Suzuki insiders say. It will have an integrated ladder-frame unibody,

The utility vehicle segment is getting crowded, but American Suzuki Motor Corp. still sees room for growth and soon will have two new entries.

First up is a small cross/utility vehicle that will debut in concept form at the New York auto show in March. The vehicle will be produced in Japan and arrives in the fall as an '06 model, Suzuki insiders say.

It will have an “integrated ladder-frame unibody,” says Odeon Dy, American Suzuki's product planning and sales training manager.

Second in the pipeline is an all-new midsize SUV, based on a monococque unibody architecture, that will replace the aging XL-7 which is body-on-frame. At the Detroit auto show, Suzuki unveiled Concept X, the basis for the XL-7 replacement, which arrives in 2006.

Concept-X is daring and muscular, with a wedge-shaped front end and an offbeat interior loaded with fanciful features including satellite television, e-mail access and DVD/DVR players for second- and third-row occupants.

The concept is powered by a 3.6L V-6. The production vehicle will have an all-new V-6, but Suzuki declines to give details about displacement or output.

Pricing is expected to be comparable to the existing XL-7.

It could be assembled at the CAMI Automotive Inc. plant owned jointly with General Motors Corp. in Ingersoll, Ont., Canada.

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