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Suzuki Uses Humor in Last-Ditch Effort to Revive Brand

Suzuki is apparently trying to use humor when all else fails to sell an amazingly good car – the Suzuki Kizashi. Its latest commercial is a comparison among the Audi A4, the Kizashi and a motorized sofa that needs to succeed to revive the brand.

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Of course, it’s no surprise to find out that the Kizashi beats out the A4 in braking, cornering, and quietness, according to a TV commercial posted on You Tube. And, of course, the motorized sofa doesn’t get past the braking component (which makes one wonder about the torque on that sofa).

There’s just one problem with the humor in this commercial. It masks the true pain that few people are shopping the Kizashi against the Audi A4 or pretty much any sports sedan. The Kizashi is an amazing performer and was a legitimate contender for North American Car of the Year last year but there are serious grumblings by some within Suzuki’s walls in California that the Japanese parent company is doing nothing to market the sedan (as well as the rest of the brand).

Year-to-date sales, based on numbers supplied by Suzuki, show what a dismal year the company is having. Through Nov. 30, 2010, it had sold 21,347 vehicles in the U.S., down 42 percent from the 2009 total of 36,804 cars. Take out the (by comparison) white-hot sales of the Kizashi at 5,269 so far this year (and had no sales through November 2009 because it was released in December 2009) and sales are off a staggering 20,726 units.

How long can Suzuki hold on in the United States with those kind of sales numbers? It’s anybody’s guess. It’s also an intriguing question because Suzuki sells so well around the world. But as long as it fails to deliver interesting product besides one very good sedan, the U.S. market will continue to yawn.

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