Suzuki Flexible Fuel Vehicles to debut in US, Brazil

Friday, August 22, 2008, 14:26 by Auto Correspondent

Ethanol is the buzzword at Suzuki these days. Japanese auto giant Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) is expected to start hitting the dealerships with its new flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) that run on 100 percent ethanol by 2010. Initially, Suzuki will launch FFVs that run on 25 percent ethanol in Brazil by March 2009. The Suzuki FFVs will also debut in the US market with 85 percent ethanol, as that is the highest ethanol blend of fuel that can be sold in the US.

The FFVs are currently part of the portfolio of auto majors such as Chrysler, Ford, General Motors and Nissan, and together account for seven million FFVs on US roads.

With Suzuki too all set to foray into the Flexible Fuel Vehicle space, the move would enable a commendable development in ethanol-powered vehicles. The new venture would also help Suzuki Motor expand its portfolio, as it doesn’t have an alternative fuel-specific vehicle in its line up.

Suzuki is banking on the Brazilian and US markets for the success of its Flexible Fuel Vehicles. In Brazil, the ethanol industry is currently undergoing good growth with the industry based on the conversion of sugarcane to ethanol. This is in fact is a completely self-sustaining industry, as far as the Brazilian economy is concerned. Meanwhile, in the US, the main source of ethanol is corn.

Suzuki Motor Corporation is also eyeing a sizeable chunk of the Middle East car market and is in parley with the dealerships there for new launches. This move, according to Suzuki, would help it enhance its share in the booming Middle Eastern market. The talks will focus on comprehensive market studies conducted by Suzuki to determine the performance of each Suzuki vehicle in every Middle Eastern market. The studies have analysed the strengths and drawbacks of various Suzuki models in a given market and has also analysed demographic aspects, such as the average age group of buyers of a particular model.

The company is also kicking off measures to explore the most effective media tools that Suzuki needs to adopt in the Middle East to gain maximum publicity and media exposure for its vehicles.

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