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Sales, Safety Boost for New Suzuki Grand Vitara

SALES BOOST FOR NEW SUZUKI GRAND VITARA

High international demand for the new Suzuki Grand Vitara is resulting in an increase in production.

Sales targets for the new generation compact Sport Utility Vehicle have been boosted by 40 per cent following highly successful introductions in several markets.

Annual production of the four-wheel-drive model was originally set at 120,000 but this has been increased to 180,000 for the first year.

The Japanese domestic market is being allocated an extra 50 per cent production after early sales successes since it was unveiled there in May 2005.

About 50,000 will go to Europe in the first year, and between 30,000 and 50,000 Grand Vitaras are expected for the United States market. The vehicles to be allocated to those two markets are 30 per cent higher than original estimates.

"Buyers are responding well to the visually sharper Grand Vitara with its better packaging, higher quality and improved on-road response and handling," said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand.

On the eve of the latest Grand Vitara being launched, sales of new Suzuki cars in New Zealand have been running at record levels this year.

Suzuki expects to be producing more than 2.7 million cars by 2010, compared to 2.01 million in 2004.

With the new models coming on stream, sales in the USA are targeted to reach 200,000 in 2007, rising to 250,000 a year by 2010.

Suzuki's compact, fuel-efficient range could be increased by the production of a petrol/electric hybrid version of the Grand Vitara by 2010.

Suzuki is developing its own hybrid system and has already produced the world's first hybrid mini-car. This is a two-seater 2,735mm long car that is lighter than a standard petrol mini-car.

The mini hybrid uses a 660cc petrol engine and a small electric motor measuring 8cm in thickness.

Strong US demand for fuel-saving technology is encouraging Suzuki to advance its development of hybrid technology, according to Hirotaka Ono, Senior General Manager of Suzuki's American and European Marketing Division.

ENDS

SAFETY EDGE TO NEW SUZUKI GRAND VITARA

A strong emphasis on body strength and safety add to the appeal of the new generation Suzuki Grand Vitara.

With most of the model's driving being on normal highways, safety was always a high priority when the vehicle was being conceived.

As a result, the JB series Grand Vitara has been awarded an independent NCAP four-star safety rating.

With a stronger body that is more resistant to twisting and bending, the new unitary construction provides a more solid basis.

In the event of an accident, the reinforced cabin structure and impact absorbing crush zones, plus the unitary design of the built-in ladder frame construction, direct impact energy away from the cabin.

The cabin has been further reinforced with door impact bars, deformation resistant members and other measures. Pedals are designed to minimise protrusion into the foot well, and a head impact protection structure supplements the airbags.

Ribbed structures are fitted behind the front, centre and quarter pillar trims, as well as padding between the body and roof lining to reduce side impact applied to the heads of occupants.

Four-channel, four-sensor anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) are standard, along with dual front airbags on all versions. The V6 Limited also includes side and curtain airbags.

In a frontal collision, the dashboard panel may be pushed backwards towards the cabin. In this situation the pedal bracket is also pushed rearwards, unlocking the brake pedal lever so that it does not cause leg injury.

Frontal impacts are absorbed by the front chassis rails and dispersed up and rearwards evenly through the body.

A multi-layer side sill and multi-layer centre pillar, all made from high tensile steel absorb side impact. Further cabin deformation in a side collision is minimised by a series of high tensile steel, floor and frame members

Side door beams and door outer reinforcing are integrated into the doors to minimise cabin deformation during frontal and side collisions. Impact absorbing material is added on the door trim to reduce impact applied to an occupant's waist area.

Pedestrian protection measures include a range of energy absorbing front-end area designs for enhanced injury mitigation.

The front bumper is designed to deform during a collision with pedestrians, while energy-absorbing pads fitted behind the bumper panel also help absorb impact.

The front guards are mounted on the body via thin metal brackets to obtain a clearance between the guard and body. This clearance softens the impact applied to a pedestrian.

Headlights are mounted on a plastic bracket. In a collision with a pedestrian, this bracket will break and the headlight will go backward, reducing the impact to a pedestrian.

Space has been left between the bonnet, engine and surrounding parts. If a pedestrian's head comes into contact with the bonnet, impact is absorbed because of the deforming bonnet. Rounded bonnet edges are also designed to deform in a collision with a pedestrian.

ENDS

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