2010 Suzuki KizashiEnlarge Photo
Despite strong, almost unanimously positive reviews of the 2010 Suzuki Kizashi sedan—we call it “sophisticated, well designed, and a lot more fun to drive than most other four-cylinder mid-size sedans”—and some very noteworthy value claims, like the lowest-priced vehicle with all-wheel drive and a nav system (the 2010 Suzuki SX4), the brand hasn't found shoppers rushing into their local Suzuki dealership. Suzuki sales are down so far this year versus 2009.
Some of Suzuki's dealerships have in fact been selling just a few of the brand's vehicles per year.
Although most improved in this year's APEAL study from J.D. Power and Associates—indicating that its products, like the new 2010 Suzuki Kizashi, are appealing to shoppers—the brand ranked a distant last place in this year's Customer Service Index (CSI) study.
According to Automotive News, Suzuki offered buyout offers to 150 of its dealerships, through a program that ended in July, and about 50 accepted the offer, leaving the brand with about 300 stores remaining across the nation.
Suzuki is hoping that, by weeding out the poor-performers, the rest of the dealerships will have more of a chance of being more profitable, as the brand repositions its marketing for the U.S. and aims for a more upscale customer.