Suzuki dealers believe they have a good thing and told the factory they want to keep it to themselves. The factory agrees.
American Suzuki Motor Corp. executives told dealers that the company does not plan to make a six-cylinder version of its new 1999 Grand Vitara small sport-utility available as a Chevrolet Tracker. The Grand Vitara and the four-cylinder Tracker are built at the CAMI Automotive Inc. plant in Ingersoll, Ontario.
'It's an important part of the product and its position in the marketplace; no one else has a V-6 small sport-utility,' said Gary Anderson, vice president of sales and marketing at Suzuki. 'We understand the importance of keeping that in the Suzuki lineup.'
Pete Kirill, of Kirill Su-zuki in Jacksonville, Fla., said the company has been making a slow comeback since 1988, when its im-age was tarnished by accusations that some models easily rolled over. 'Now we're having some acceleration the past five or six months,' Kirill, chairman of the Suzuki dealer council, said. Another issue discussed at the make meeting was Suzuki's brand image and national advertising campaign, Kirill said.
Anderson said Suzuki will spend 25 to 30 percent more on advertising in 1999 than it did in 1998 and will continue advertising on national cable and spot TV.
Suzuki also plans to add dealers, he said. It has 308 dealers now and expects to have 320 by April and 340 by year's end. Anderson said the company has open points in California, Texas, and in areas of the East and the South.