Suzuki is the small car king in China, but its terrible at selling anything much larger than the SX4. The Japanese brand has signed two joint venture contracts in the Chinese market, initially with Chang’an Auto but later with Changhe, then Chang’an merged Changhe into its own operations which should give Suzuki a stronger platform for the Chinese market. Chang’an makes the Swift, SX4, Alto, Ling Yang (mk2 Swift) whilst Changhe makes the Liana, WagonR, Landi MPV, and Splash, Suzuki’s total sales for May cleared just over 22,000 units making it the 13th most popular brand that month, but pipped by BYD at 12th.
The Vitari series of three and five door SUV’s have seen some sales in the Chinese market, obviously a lot lower than its Japanese rivals who have already introduced their compact SUV offerings to local production but the Kizashi has been a rough failure for the Suzuki. The Kizashi and to an extent the Vitari are high end products, but the mean price of Suzuki vehicles in the Chinese market is roughly 50,000RMB, low cost cars have somewhat tarnished the brands image making 200,000RMB to 300,000RMB priced vehicles a tough sell. Suzuki has never revealed how many imported Kizashi’s have been sold, but the number is expected to be sub 500 units per year, even a round of price cutting didn’t help move the AWD vehicle from dealer lots.
Suzuki’s next move is to put the Vitari and Kizashi into production in China along with 7 other new models by 2015. Compact SUV’s are a hot selling product in the Chinese market and sales were up 45% in May, B-Class compact cars also popular when the Kizashi introduces its AWD 2.0L and 2.4L models with a price tag circa 150,000RMB to 200,000RMB rather than the high import price of 180,000RMB to 240,000RMB.