(from Suzuki Press
Release) Suzuki Concept Kizashi, the World Premiere.
The Third Phase of Suzuki's World Strategy
With the Swift, Suzuki began the first phase of its world strategy
and gave undiluted form to the attribute that was the theme of the
first phase: sportiness.
The Swift won awards around the world by virtue of its superior
dynamics and design. Suzuki subsequently pursued sportiness in the
Grand Vitara and SX4, and both cars enjoy enormous success.
The Splash is making its world debut at the 2007 Frankfurt show and
will become the first model in the second phase of Suzuki's world
strategy. In this phase, the theme is families. Having focused on
sportiness in the first phase, enhancing Suzuki's image in the
process, Suzuki is now building upon what they have already achieved
while refocusing on its main traditional strength: family-oriented
user-friendliness. The next model coming after the Splash is the
next-generation Alto, which combines environmental compatibility
The D-segment initiative which is now being revealed represents the
beginning of the third phase of the world strategy. The main
objective of this phase is status. The brand has developed to such
an extent that it's able to communicate status, and Suzuki has
overcome the great challenge ofmaking cars that give their owners a
feeling of status.
1. Why is Suzuki Entering the D-Segment?
Suzuki has made a name for itself in the compact car and sport
utility vehicle segments. Its customers spread in 168 countries and
regions around the world. The annual sales have shown steady growth,
rising from about 1,654 thousand units in fiscal 1997 to an
estimated 2,405 thousand units in fiscal 2007.
Under the mid-term five-year plan, Suzuki is targeting sales of 3
million units in fiscal 2009 (the last year of the plan). The
Japanese carmaker achieved consolidated sales of 3 trillion yen in
fiscal 2007, meaning that the company is close to a mid-ranking
position in the worldwide motor industry.
But despite the progress, Suzuki has not been able to accommodate
many of the customers who have expressed a desire to stay with the
automaker when purchasing subsequent, larger cars. Suzuki has
entirely owed its customers for the growth since its founding in
1909. The carmaker feels obliged to respond to increasing
expectations and is convinced that it's essential to offer a wider
product range in order to accommodate customers' diverse lifestyles.
Consequently, Suzuki has decided to expand its lineup to cover all
segments from A to D in the next few years. Suzuki's first-ever
D-segment car will stand at the top of the range.
Another major factor behind the D-segment entry is to more fully
exploit the high level of Suzuki's technological competence and thus
enhance its brand image.
2. Suzuki's D-Segment Entry
Suzuki realizes that there's no point in entering the D-segment
unless it can offer new value that can't be given by any of the
Suzuki paid close attention to the fact that the D-segment is
broadly divided into two parts. In one part, there are
family-oriented cars that are relatively large and reflect an
emphasis on cabin roominess. In the other part, there are entry
luxury cars that reflect an emphasis on performance, are relatively
compact, and offer relatively high levels of quality and prestige.
The new value that Suzuki intends to provide will not belong to
Suzuki's Way of Life! brand slogan is based on five elements:
straightforward, value, sporty, spirit, and excitement.
The words straightforward and value reflect Suzuki's ability to
offer products that are sensible and worthwhile. The words sporty
and spirit reflect the emotional appeal of its products. And the
word excitement expresses the core factor that Suzuki delivers to
customers through all products. Among these factors, value (in
other words, a level of customer satisfaction higher than the
expected from products' prices), is an inherent virtue of Suzuki
It might be argued that all existing D-segment cars whose
affordability is a selling point are chosen by customers because
they offer a good balance of pricing on one hand and the rational
factors of equipment, driving performance, and cabin roominess on
the other. But the Suzuki D-segment car will be different.
With the D-segment entry, Suzuki is targeting emotional appeal as a
way to deliver a level of customer satisfaction far higher than what
might be expected from the car's price point. In other words, Suzuki
is the first carmaker to target an uncompromised combination of
affordability and emotional appeal in the D-segment.
For sportiness, the car's dimensions need to reflect a priority on
performance. So while ensuring the cabin roominess that is essential
in the D-segment, the car is as lean as possible. And with regard to
design, Suzuki has thoroughly studied the nature of sporty, exciting
styling in the D-segment and has concluded that the design of the
new car should have two themes: grace and dynamism.
Since the overall theme of the third phase of Suzuki's world
strategy is status, the expressions of dynamism should not be brash
expressions of power. Rather, they aim for styling that's rich in
character and conveys a passionate spirit.
The sportiness that Suzuki wants to deliver in the D-segment will
perhaps be most directly expressed by the car's dynamics. The kind
of dynamics creates a sense of refinement. Suzuki's engineers are
striving to devise ways to maximize the quality of the dynamics not
only in performance but also in terms of motion that stirs people's
emotions. This effort is vital because the kind of sportiness is
measured not in terms of times and performance figures but in terms
of how it makes people feel. Suzuki has already given form to this
thinking in the Swift Sport. Now, they plan to carry it forward and
further develop it for the D-segment.
3. The Engineering Approach Supporting Suzuki's New Initiative
In order to achieve its goals, Suzuki is taking a typically
Suzuki-like technological approach. The methodology is to combine
and apply proven technologies, thoroughly refining them in user-centred
ways rather than pursuing features using spectacular new techniques.
This approach is actually one of the greatest benefits Suzuki has
gained from its company's motorcycle business (Suzuki is one of only
a handful of companies that produce both cars and motorcycles). With
a motorcycle where the man-machine interface is even more crucial
than it is with a car establishing the dynamics based on data
alone is impossible. Rather, it's essential to conduct numerous road
tests, verifying and interpreting each and every comment from
testers and feeding the results back into the design. This method
may appear outdated in an industry where virtual-reality technology
has become mainstream. Since Suzuki's engineers worked on the Swift,
they have been convinced that it's the best way to dramatically
heighten the dynamic performance of Suzuki's cars and stir the
emotions of users. These factors are behind our focus on delivering
a D-segment car that's spirited.
At the same time, Suzuki is conscious of the great demand for
environmental compatibility in the D-segment. The main response to
this demand is the development of a hybrid car. Its goal is to use a
hybrid arrangement (an internal combustion engine provides the main
propulsion, and an electric motor provides assistance whenever extra
power is needed) to achieve environmental compatibility without
sacrificing an emotionally appealing engine feel.
Suzuki is planning to use all-wheel drive (AWD; a technology that
Suzuki has refined over many years) to further heighten the car's
refined dynamics. For an even better combination of environmental
compatibility and dynamic performance, the AWD development targets
include the lowest CO2 emissions of any D-segment AWD passenger car.
4. Suzuki D-Segment Preview: The Concept Kizashi
Suzuki unveils the progress of the new project, a concept car called
the Concept Kizashi, at the 2007 IAA Frankfurt show.
Kizashi is a Japanese word meaning prelude or foretaste. The
name symbolizes the change within Suzuki.
The Concept Kizashi represents Suzuki's passion for challenges (this
is a major aspect of Suzuki's corporate culture), its future
direction, and the competitive strengths that are unique to Suzuki.
To fulfill this mission, the design theme for the Concept Kizashi is
a dynamic athlete in motion. This is because its D-segment ideals
are summed up by the attributes of a great athlete: dedication to
sporting challenges, physical strength that comes from hard daily
training, a honed physique with no superfluous weight, and the
presence and dignity of a champion.
Suzuki made a particular effort to express the car's credentials as
a highway athlete:
1. Overwhelming presence that breaks the D-segment mould
The body brings to mind the lean, muscular physique of a top-class
athlete, and a strongly protrusive front end communicates a
2. An energetic look that immediately gives an idea of the car's
Large wheels and wide treads express a capacity for high
performance. The bonnet shape hints at abundant engine power. And
the body hints at aerodynamics that enable the car to punch through
the air while firmly gripping the road.
3. A sense of character and status befitting Suzuki's flagship car
The detailing of individual parts gives a sense of exquisiteness and
The Concept Kizashi is a clear sign of the great things to come from
Suzuki as the D-segment initiative continues to take shape.