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Suzuki SX4 is in short supply

Automotive News reports on the success of Suzuki's SX4 small car.

Automotive News

NEW YORK--Booming sales of the Suzuki SX4 have created a potential problem for dealers: a car shortage.

Suzuki sold 4,795 SX4s in March, a 49.6 percent increase over March 2008.

Koichi Suzuki, executive vice president of American Suzuki Motor Corp., said SX4 production was increased in Japan but U.S. dealers won't receive the units until mid- or late May at the earliest.

"There will be a small shortage" until fresh inventory arrives, Suzuki said here before the opening of the New York auto show this month.

He credited increased advertising in March, including the "Mightier than the Mini" campaign, for the spike in SX4 sales. Those ads compare the SX4 to the Mini Cooper and tout the SX4's available all-wheel drive.

In March, Suzuki offered buyers a choice of incentives up to $1,000 or loans ranging from 7.9 to 10.9 percent.

In March, sedans accounted for about three-quarters of SX4 sales, and hatchbacks accounted for the rest.

In other news, Koichi Suzuki said:

--The number of dealers has dropped to about 400 this year from 460 last year, and further attrition is likely this year.

--The automaker will offer hybrid powertains, but those models are three to four years away.

--The sales target for the recently introduced Suzuki Equator pickup is "a few hundred units per month." The automaker will rely on a print campaign and $500 incentive program offered to the owners of Suzuki motorcycles and boat motors.

(Source: Automotive News)