Suzuki Kizashi, the mid-sized sedan by Suzuki was first unveiled in 2009 and was meant to compete with the likes of the Honda Accord & Toyota Camry. By 2010 it was available in most automobile markets of the world including the USA, Japan, North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and by 2011 it was introduced to India.
Kizashi- The birth & the death…
The word Kizashi in Japanese means ‘Sign of good things to come’ however the car was never a successful product for Suzuki in any part of the world. Suzuki officials describe Kizashi as a ‘very unlucky car’ for the brand.
In December 2013, Suzuki announced that Kizashi will be discontinued on global markets, and will not get a successor. In December 2014, its production ceased in the Sagara plant where the Kizashi was built. Despite being good on paper the car badly suffered with poor sales due to the comparatively high price for a Suzuki vehicle and the lack of available engine options.
In India, the Kizashi was phased out within just 2 years while dealers who had existing stocks of the sedan reportedly offered interesting discounts on the car. According to media reports, some dealers even offered a Maruti hatchback “free” along with the purchase of a Kizashi.
What was so bad about the car?
There are a couple of things associated with the tragic & momentary production period of Kizashi. The first & foremost problem was the “S” badge right in front of the car. Suzuki as a brand just doesn’t really fit with this mid-sized sedan. The global perception of the Suzuki brand is associated with low-cost economy cars, people never really considered as worth buying a high-budget vehicle from Suzuki.
The other main problem was the presence of just 1 engine, the 2.4-liter petrol unit. The cars it was primarily meant to compete with, i.e. the Accord & Camry were available in various engine options ranging from 2.0 liter to 3.5 liter, available in petrol, diesel & hybrid versions. It was also believed that the Kizashi would have done better if it was placed in the 1.8 to 2.0-liter segment. Competing with the likes of well-established & prestigious rivals was really too optimistic for Suzuki.
Kizashi launched in Pakistan after being discontinued globally…
After almost 2 years after it was globally discontinued, Pak Suzuki launched the unfortunate Kizashi sedan in the Pakistani market. The car was launched in February 2015 with a price tag of PKR 5.0 million. Available with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder petrol engine paired with a 6-speed manual transmission or a CVT unit.
Although the car offers keyless entry with a push button start, automatic wipers, alloy wheels, parking sensors, a multi-function steering wheel, climate control, power-adjustable seats, leather upholstery, ESP, and paddle-shifters on the CVT variant. Still, after more than 18 months of its launch in Pakistan, the Kizashi is yet to attract buyers.
Not the first Suzuki in Pakistan to be launched after having completed its global lifespan…
But Kizashi is not the only vehicle that is exclusively on sale only in Pakistan. Sparing the obsolete Ravi, Bolan, Mehran & Cultus there are more examples when the cars were launched by Pak Suzuki after they had completed their global lifespan and were replaced by a newer model.
In 2010 the 3rd generation Swift was launched in international markets, that was the time when Pak Suzuki introduced the 2nd generation Swift which was available for sale in international markets between 2004-2010.
Suzuki Liana was introduced in Pakistan back in 2005, the same year when it was discontinued globally. The locally-made Liana started to roll off the assembly lines at Pak Suzuki a year later in 2006.
First generation Baleno was produced between 1995 and 1998, while it was introduced in Pakistan in 1998 when the facelift was launched globally. The Baleno facelift was produced between 1999 and was phased out in 2002 while Pak Suzuki launched the facelift here in 2002.
Kizashi in Pakistan & the question marks???
There are lots of question marks associated with Pak Suzuki’s launch of the Kizashi among the auto consumers & enthusiasts of our market alike.
Are these the unsold units from 2013?
Suzuki formally announced to stop manufacturing the Kizashi in 2013. Pak Suzuki is not assembling one locally but Kizashi is being imported as a CBU (Completely Built Unit). Since the Sagara plant in Japan is no longer manufacturing Kizashi for more than a couple of years, there is a huge question mark whether the cars being imported are the ones that were built back then but remained unsold.
Why no extended warranty for Kizashi?
Another huge question mark is related to the warranty. If you visit the Pak Suzuki website, there is no extended warranty option available for the Kizashi, why? However, the other imported vehicles including the APV & Jimny are offered with extended warranties starting from PKR 13,200/- Customers of Pak Suzuki can enjoy an extended warranty period of up to 4 years, but Kizashi surprisingly is the only vehicle to be offered without this facility.
Availability of Spare parts?
This is one of the major points of concern. Is Pak Suzuki well equipped with the Kizashi spare parts? There were cases related to out-of-market vehicles in the past, Chevrolet Aveo & Proton Gen-2 to name a couple when certain maintenance part was required and the dealership did not have it. In order to arrange one for the customer, the specific part was then imported which took a couple of weeks, to up to a month to arrive. In certain cases, the vehicle was garaged till the maintenance part arrived. This fear is almost entirely associated with any out-of-market car, be it Kizashi.
Price vs available options…
Kizashi is priced at PKR 5.0 million which is a lot. Although the car is way cheaper compared to the Accord & Camry (cars it was meant to compete with) in Pakistan. Honda Accord is priced at PKR 10,650,000 while Toyota Camry is available at PKR. 10,949,000, both being twice as much expensive compared to Kizashi. The reason is the high taxes on cars with bigger engines being imported as CBU. Still, those who can spend PKR 5.0 million have options such as the Audi A3 (PKR 3.8 million) which is a much more prestigious option, the new Civic 1.5T (3.0 million), and imported vehicles including BMW, Mercedes, etc. These brands being successful across the globe gives a higher level of satisfaction & prestige against the money spent.
A final word on Kizashi
Kizashi is not all that bad but it will be a big NO if Pak Suzuki is willing to just clear out the unsold units of the vehicle. However on a long-term basis, if the car is offered with a lower displacement engine in Pakistan, say 1.8 or 2.0, assembling one locally will bring the cost down and if somehow Pak Suzuki is able to price it around the new Civic, it will become a much attractive option. At the current price, Kizashi will struggle to leave the showrooms, just as it did in almost every market of the world. A long-term vision is needed to make the car successful but we still believe Pak Suzuki should introduce cars like the Suzuki Ciaz which is a better yet successful vehicle rather than an obsolete and globally flop Kizashi!
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com