Drive Type: 4 wheel drive
Trim: 2 door
Waterford Works, New Jersey, United States
It's pretty much a done-deal now, folks. A US bankruptcy judge has approved Suzuki's plans to wind down its operations in the States. As part of Suzuki's Chapter 11 proceedings, its automotive unit will cease to exist in the US, leaving the motorcycle, ATV and marine units to function as Suzuki Motor of America.
It's not clear how many vehicles are left on the 219 remaining Suzuki dealership lots - the company reported sales of 1,764 in February - but the automaker has assured customers that warranty service and parts will remain available. Suzuki made an investment of $45 million to ensure its past and current customers aren't completely left in repair-work limbo.
Check out the complete announcement from Suzuki below for more information, and please join us in mourning the loss of the Kizashi sedan and SX4 hatch, two vehicles we are legitimately going to miss when this whole sordid affair is done and over with.
The death of Suzuki's American automotive operations can be chalked up to many, many things. One thing it cannot be blamed on, however, is the arguable goodness of its products. The company's criminally underrated offerings included the Kizashi sedan, the SX4 compact and your author's personal favorite, the Grand Vitara.
The GV rode on a radically different version of General Motors' Theta platform, which underpins the American manufacturer's current crop of crossovers, like the Chevrolet Equinox. What made the Grand Vitara special, though, was that it wasn't just another run-of-the-mill CUV. Buying the cheapest model meant living with rear-wheel drive rather than the Theta's typical front drive. Spend a bit of money, though, and you'd end up with an honest-to-goodness off-roader, sporting selectable four-wheel drive complete with low-range gearbox. It also comfortably sat five, was reasonably efficient and was quite handsome. We aren't totally sure how it turned into this.
This, of course, being the new Vitara (it replaces the Escudo, the vehicle Americans know as the Grand Vitara), and it will make its global debut at October's Paris Motor Show, which has ditched its four-wheel-drive system for a part-time all-wheel-drive system called Allgrip.
Even though American Suzuki Motor Corporation filed for bankruptcy last year and stopped selling cars in the US and Canada as part of its reorganization, there are still plenty of countries around the world where Suzuki continues to sell autos. For those markets, the automaker is working on a compact sport-utility vehicle, called the iV-4, which will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
Suzuki says the iV-4 "embodies the basic ruggedness of an SUV," and that its styling is modern and innovative. We'll have to take Suzuki's word on that one, though the teaser above certainly looks the part, with the grille reminding us of the one found on the Jeep Grand Cherokee (minus a few slats, of course).
Scroll down for the short-and-sweet press release, and expect the full brace of information to be revealed in September.