Suzuki Motor Corp. remains small in North America but says it will grow into the mainstream in the next five years through nine new product introductions.
“This is a major turning point for Suzuki,” says Hirotaka Ono, Suzuki executive general manager and board member, at the New York auto show.
The nine new models will be sold exclusively by Suzuki, but the OEM will accept a little help from its friends. The first entries, the '04 Forenza and Verona sedans, are based on vehicles from GM-Daewoo Automotive and Technology Ltd.
The auto maker will follow in 2004 with a 5-door cross/utility vehicle and a station wagon. In 2005, Suzuki will replace the Vitara and Grand Vitara with a new, small SUV powered by a 2.7L V-6 engine from Japan.
The Grand Vitara XL-7 gets replaced in 2006 with a new midsize SUV. The auto maker's plans also call for a new “sport crossover” that same year. And in 2007, Suzuki expects a new sport sedan and sport wagon. Besides the two sedans, all the newly announced products will be built by Suzuki and based on Suzuki technology, Rick Suzuki, president-American Suzuki Motor Corp., tells Ward's.