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American Consumer Award For Suzuki Grand Vitara

North American Consumer Award For Suzuki Grand Vitara

Suzuki’s Grand Vitara has been awarded a major consumer award in the United States, beating 20 other compact Sport Utility Vehicle models.

The 2007 Grand Vitara was named top model in the prestigious North American Consumers Guide Automotive Best Buy award for Compact Sport Utility Vehicles.

This second generation Grand Vitara, which has been on sale in New Zealand for just over a year, out-paced a class field of four-wheel-drive SUV models, including the BMW X3, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Wrangler, Kia Sportage, Mazda Tribute, Mitsubishi Outlander and Subaru Forester.

Each year Consumer Guide automotive editors select new vehicles from the hundreds of cars they evaluate and choose the best overall values in 17 category segments, ranging from inexpensive compact cars to premium luxury SUVs.

A vehicle’s price, features, accommodation and its performance are considered when determining the Best Buy or Recommended award. A Best Buy award represents an optimum balance of attributes within its class across ten rating categories.

The versatile Grand Vitara is a key factor in rising sales of Suzuki cars in the United States. For the first ten months of 2006, sales of new Suzuki automobiles were up 28 per cent, making it one of the fastest growing automotive brands in the US market.

“The company’s record year has been driven by the success of the Grand Vitara with an astounding 419 per cent increase over the 2005 model year,” said Koichi Suzuki, president of American Suzuki’s automotive operations.

Despite setting record sales last year, American Suzuki is heading for 100,000 sales in 2006, the first time the company has achieved this number in its 21-year history.

By late October it had already outsold the record 82,101 vehicles registered for the whole of 2005, with two months of sales this year still to be recorded.

Suzuki’s North American sales are also being boosted by the arrival of the multi-purpose SX4 five-door compact cross-over model which has been received enthusiastically. The all-new SX4 is scheduled to go on sale in New Zealand in the first quarter of 2007.

The latest Grand Vitara has collected several honours, including the Sport Truck Connection Television Annual Light Truck and SUV award in the United States and Four Wheeler magazine’s Four Wheeler of the Year title.

For the fifth consecutive year, Suzuki has been honoured with the Sport Truck Connection Television ALTAS award after an evaluation of more than 100,000 vehicles. The criteria is based on how a vehicle performs in its intended function – the way most consumers use their vehicles – rather than being based on specific performance.

The 2006 Grand Vitara has also been named Best Kept Secret of 2006 by Autobytel, a leading Internet automotive marketing website. This award is based on value, quality, design and performance.

“Endorsement of the Grand Vitara’s attributes in North America is mirrored here in New Zealand where Suzuki’s four-wheel-drive range has long been highly regarded,” said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand.

The large range of Grand Vitara models means the vehicle appeals to a wide section of the market. New Zealanders have the choice of four engines, including a diesel option, and two body configurations.

With the availability of dual range four wheel drive, manual or automatic transmissions, no fewer than six Grand Vitara models are available in New Zealand, with prices starting from $25,500.

…ends…

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