Suzuki is making a concerted effort to break out of the small fuel efficient car market. By doing so, they aim to expand their reach but won't break away from fuel efficiency in the process of building a larger vehicle. Their intent is to produce a larger, hybrid powered vehicle to expand its market share and reach additional consumers looking for a larger offering than the company currently produces.
According to reports from the Nikkei newspaper in Japan, Suzuki has focused additional research and development dollars into alternative fueled vehicles and much of that is focused towards a larger platform vehicle.
Back in 2007, Suzuki released a concept vehicle based on a larger platform. The vehicle, called the Kizashi Concept, was considered to be a possible base for a larger hybrid vehicle. There is no conformation as to whether or not the expected hybrid from Suzuki will be based off of this vehicle.
The company has restructured itself to be better suited for developing alternative fuel vehicles. It R&D division is now broken into three separate groups. One group will focus on electric vehicles, another on hybrids in collaboration with GM, and the third group will focus on Suzuki hybrids and traditional gasoline powered vehicles.
According to analysts, Suzuki only has $1.1 billion to spend in the 2009-2010 fiscal year on R&D and that just might not be enough to support the goals of the company. Some analysts believe that one of the three programs listed above will not make it, but lets hope Suzuki can pull it all off and release hybrids and EVs in the near future.
Source: Nikkei Newspaper (Login required), Edmunds