Suzuki is evaluating bringing in its Mondeo-rivalling Kizashi family car to the UK market this time next year.
The Suzuki Kizashi is already sold in Japan, the US, Australia and New Zealand, but now European importers are beginning to sell the car on the Continent. It's already sold in Switzerland and Norway, German sales begin in winter 2010 and - if the trial goes well - UK sales could kick off in autumn 2011.
Suzuki Kizashi: the background
The Kizashi was first shown as a rakish concept car in 2007, and has translated to an only-moderately-toned-down D-segment Mondeo rival. Although the segment has shrunk in Europe as buyers downsize, it remains one of the biggest sectors of the market.
The problem Suzuki faces is that the Kizashi hasn't been engineered for diesel. Despite this, the company believes it can expand its range from the heartland of superminis and 4x4s upwards to sell a few Kizashis against well-equipped Accords, Passats and 6s.
What, petrol only in that sector? Good luck!
Suzuki has brought a left-hand drive Kizashi to the UK and it's currently touring dealers and key influencers. If the bean counters can stack up a business case for the 2.4-litre petrol, it'll go on sale in 'winter 2011'.
'If we can sell 500 a year, we will give the green light,' said a spokesman. 'But we won't do this unless it's profitable. We're not in the business of doing vanity projects that aren't profitable.'
Having a 2.4-litre petrol engine in this class will be a distinct disadvantage. But Suzuki will have right-hand drive and a bulging spec for around £21,000-£22,000, and it says a CVT auto version and a four-wheel drive option could both be cherrypicked from the global product range.
'A four-wheel drive Kizashi would give us a real point of difference,' said the Suzuki official. 'Nobody else does a four-door with four-wheel drive in this sector in the UK - apart from Audi's Quattro cars and a Vauxhall Insignia 4x4. We would significantly undercut them.'
Suzuki launched the Kizashi in Japan in late 2009. It has sold 9000 units since then. The tie-up with Volkswagen should ensure that future derivatives of the Kizashi will have diesel engines plumbed in, yet that is unlikely in this car's lifecycle.