Suzuki Motor Corp. will resume production of Suzuki vehicles at an assembly plant that it co-owns with General Motors in Canada.
Hirotaka Ono, head of marketing for Europe and North America, said Suzuki will build a mid-sized SUV at the CAMI Automotive Inc. plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, beginning in fall 2006.
It will be Suzuki's largest SUV and will replace the entry-level XL-7, Suzuki's best-selling nameplate in the United States.
"This car is too big for our factories in Japan," Ono said. "CAMI is fitted for mid-sized vehicles."
The new SUV, whose concept version is called the Concept-X, will be equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission and a 3.6-liter V-6 engine making 250 hp. The base XL-7 has a five-speed manual transmission and a 2.7-liter V-6 making 185 hp.
Ono expects Suzuki to sell about 60,000 units annually of the mid-sized SUV. In 2004, Suzuki sold 18,501 XL-7s.
Suzuki has not built any vehicles at CAMI since it halted production of the Vitara small SUV in January 2004. At that time, Suzuki executives said they did not know whether they would return to the Canadian plant.
CAMI produces the Chevrolet Equinox sport wagon. CAMI announced this month that it was investing $500 million in the plant and adding 400 workers to build the new 2006 Pontiac Torrent sport wagon starting in August.
Ono said the new Suzuki model will share only about 10 percent common components with the GM vehicles. "We're not sharing much with GM anymore," he said. "We're now building exclusive Suzuki vehicles."
CAMI Automotive is a joint venture between Suzuki Motor Corp. and GM of Canada Ltd. The plant opened in 1989, and its annual capacity is 250,000 units.