Something Great Is Gone: 2011 Suzuki Kizashi S 6-Speed
Suzuki Loom Works was founded in 1909 in the seaside village of Hamamatsu, Japan as a manufacturer of weaving looms for Japan’s booming silk industry. Michio Suzuki (1887-1982) decided to diversify his enterprise a few years later, but it wasn’t until after the war that the Suzuki Motor Works was formed to build the 1955 Suzuki Suzulight, a front-wheel-drive economy car with independent suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. The first Suzuki to be sold new in the USA was the 1985 Chevrolet Sprint, which was actually a rebadged Suzuki Cultus. In 2009, right at the height of the automotive crisis, Suzuki introduced what was probably their best vehicle ever sold in the USA, a mid-sized sedan called the Kizashi, but it was not meant to last, and Suzuki withdrew from the US market in 2012. Find this 2011 Suzuki Kizashi S 6-Speed offered for $5,495 in Baton Rouge, LA via craigslist.
The name Kizashi translates to either “something great is coming,” “omen,” or “warning” — and given Suzuki’s untimely evac from the US market, it may have been the latter. Regardless, the Kizashi, when new, was a legitimate competitor to the Volkwagen Passat, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, and any other mid-sized 4-cylinder equipped sedans with shift-your-own gears. The difference is that you will be the only person in your zip code with a Kizashi and if you remove the big S up front, even die hard car guys will ask you what you are driving. Maybe throw some prototype camouflage stickers on the side and watch people pull out cell phone cameras everywhere you go.
The Kizashi uses a 185 horsepower 2.4 liter inline-4 with 170 ft-lbs
of torque that on paper sounds like something Honda would have
built in the 1990s, but it isn’t a horrible engine and will return
decent fuel economy if you let it (EPA estimate 21 city, 31 hwy). Sure, it is down on torque/power compared to most of the direct injected and turbocharged
competition that was available in 2011, but maintenance on the timing chain equipped and port injected engine should be easy…assuming you can get service parts.
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Well, the powertrain has all the GM bits, the car itself is probably the best-trimmed, best-contented of that generation of GM FWD product, what's not to like?
Uh, who sells parts now?
OT: Anyone know what Suzuki made during the war? In a quick cursory search of the interwebs, there's an uncomfortable gap in the company's history from 1937 to 1945.
According to Funding Universe:
"By 1937 Suzuki had begun production of a variety of war-related materials, which may have included vehicle parts, gun assemblies, and armor. For its part in Japan's World War II effort, Suzuki, like thousands of other companies, was requisitioned for war production and probably had no intention of becoming a manufacturer of military implements. Nevertheless, the company continued to manufacture weaving machines for the duration of the war."
Some other sites say they resumed loom manufacture after the war. To me, it seems that no one really cared after the war to document what they did or the records were lost, since they weren't as easily translated as German or (conspiracy theory on) they were up to something that the American occupation forces didn't want known. (conspiracy theory off). I'm curious if they made aircraft engines like Packard made Merlins here in the U.S.
Oh, I'm sure there are exact records, as that's the Japanese way. They probably just don't want them released. So who knows if they made engines like that. Maybe they did but I'm guessing that other companies took on those tasks.
The loom business was done and over in the early 50s, as most online resources will attest. That's when the clear need to produce something that actually made money became a necessity for the company. The Suzulight of the mid-50s was their first production car, I think.
Unrelentingly uninteresting data dump, courtesy of K2MC.
Why they wouldn't release records like that when you can find out about Batto atrocities all day long is beyond me.
Yeah, but those paper records had a hard time surviving LeMay's firebombing the crap out of Japan. I was reading how MacArthur and the U.S. Government suppressed the effects of the atomic bombs on the civilian population for many years. Now, its readily available (at least what wasn't destroyed), but no one care at this point. That's where my conspiracy thought came from. My guess is that Suzuki probably made armaments along with their looms, but that is embarrassing, so it's just looms.
Actually, I take that back. Regardless of whether or not any records survived, if Suzuki made aircraft engines, there would be physical proof of such, somewhere. Until that appears, I'm inclined to believe otherwise. The US and Japanese governments were vastly different at the time, not to mention the two cultures. I don't think there's a direct comparison to be made there, historically.
Suzuki, like most companies worldwide is quite proud of it's long history and being part of the war effort at the time would not be an embarrassment in light of everything else that happened and well documented. They probably made small, less important (for lack of a better term) components of the war machine. I can think of no conceivable reason for Suzuki to suppress their history during that time period, other than the obvious; they were part of the war, they made things for the war, it wasn't terribly exciting and that was that.
There's no possible way that Suzuki idly produced solely looms during WWII. That would be along the lines of saying Willow Run was built for no other purpose other than to produce GM transmissions.
And Siemens had labor relations issues during WW2 producing electrical components for camping…
It seems that Suzuki may still be selling these things up here in Caaa Naaa Daaa. (How the natives would say it) at least I'm sure I seen a 14 for sale on the classifieds.
Hey what ever happened to that K2 guy?
According to Wikipedia (not always the most reliable source, but a source) the last market for this car was Pakistan.
The couple I've seen on the road look better than any of their FWD GM stablemates.
I'm still here. Apologies.
My two (#2!) cents on the Suzuki Signs; underrated, undervalued and a fantastic used value if you don't need the latest and greatest, the most romp-stomping power and aren't afraid of an orphan (Attack of the Orphans! Run, run, run away!). This car is an interesting to a comparable Jetta.
To me, the company pulled a GM; made a great product and then abandoned it. Of course, going out of business -in the US at least, as my pals to the North can attest, eh?- will do that. It's tough to sell any product when you don't have an ability to do so. Parts availability wouldn't worry me, personally, at least in the short term. I'm sure it's not any more difficult right now than it was a couple of years ago. Fellow owners of brands like Alfa Romeo, etc. know exactly what I'm talking about. The InterWebz changed all of that. Or just buy a 3-D printer and make your own parts, right? Heh.
A neighbor has one (#5!), all black. I've driven it and it's a marvelous car. Just right in a lot of ways. I found the manual to be a bit notchy (again, rather GM-like). I've also driven the CVT and it ain't half bad. If you'd rather have an automatic…it's really not a bad choice, even if you don't like CVTs, like I do.
You can buy a 2013 Kizashi in the States. Proof.
I believe I may have an answer to your excellent query, G; the company was involved in the WWII effort and making looms.
I'm assuming that this thing has an F40-family gearbox as you'd find in various other FWD GM products.
They're decent, and can be Quaifed if spending a couple grand on better grip appeals to you.
@mrkwong – i thought you were about to tell us what Wikipedia says about K2 😉
I'm not certain the engine replacement place is the best backdrop for photos used to sell cars.
Especially the COM LETE CARE part…
You guys are right; this Suzie-Q is a fright pig.
Ran the VIN thru the NICB database and it doesn't come up as a theft or total loss.
I went and looked at the Kizashi when they first came out and later was looking for a used one wanted all wheel drive and top trim level still like them did drive a used one on a ElCheapo car lot was just a little scary not the car the creeps that worked there ! LoL
That right rear bumper looks like Matt and the #20 gave it the Lagano push me Shove U treatment……!