Suzuki Aerio Debuts at North American International Auto Show

Breakout Small Sedan and Sport Crossover Blend Standout Styling With One of the Most Powerful Engines in Its Class DETROIT, Jan. 6 -- The consensus among today's small car shoppers is that there are plenty of predictable, reliable, uninspiring choices that can ``practically'' take care of most of your needs, but they almost always leave you wanting something more. Today's consumers yearn for a small sedan that gives them the good things of today's offerings, yet provides new levels of sportiness, room, power and personality. Suzuki took a new approach to give consumers what they really want -- and named it Aerio.

Suzuki changes the small sedan equation forever with today's introduction of the Aerio at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. Two models of the Aerio -- a sport sedan and sport crossover (SX) vehicle -- will go on sale in March 2002, both blending expressive styling and sportiness with one of the most powerful standard engines in the small car class and incredible category-leading space. From the car's name -- implying aerodynamics, smooth shapes and styling -- to its distinctive exterior and interior design, the Aerio represents a breakthrough in new small-car thinking.

Continuing Suzuki's tradition in innovation and inspired by the SX concept vehicle unveiled at the 2001 New York Auto Show, the Aerio proves buyers don't need to sacrifice get-noticed street appeal for the affordability, utility and driving ease that have become small-car category traits.

The front-wheel-drive Aerio sport sedan and Aerio SX sport crossover models will go on sale in March 2002 and both will be available with five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmissions. The Aerio sport sedan has two trim levels -- S and GS -- while the Aerio SX will be available in one, fully loaded trim package. All-wheel-drive versions of both vehicles will be available when in September 2002 weather dictates.

Continuing Suzuki's tradition of maximum consumer value, the amenity-laden Aerio GS and Aerio SX models will offer an MSRP under the $15,000 small car price threshold and the MSRP for the well-equipped Aerio S rings in well below the $14,000 mark.

Adding to the value equation is the Aerio's excellent fuel economy -- topping out for both models at 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway (manual transmission) and 26 mpg city and 31 mpg highway (automatic transmission).

THE AERIO

Clearly, the Aerio's most characteristic feature is its forward-thinking, distinctive exterior design, engineered for the growing segment of young buyers and trendsetters of all ages wanting to make a cutting-edge style statement. This group likes to lead and be ahead of the curve in everything they do -- and this car fulfills that need and more.

Punctuating the Aerio's exterior are bold front and rear bumpers, sporty side moldings, wheel flares and a striking front grille, giving both models an urban, edgy feel. The distinctive theme continues with such uncommon standard features as multi-reflector, jewel-type halogen headlights, prism tail lamps, daytime running lights and intermittent wipers.

Adding to the emotional appeal of the Aerio GS and Aerio SX are five-spoke aluminum alloy wheels, keyless remote entry, fog lamps and distinctive rear spoiler with brake light. The Aerio SX's prominent rear profile boasts a hatch with a gas pressure-assisted lift mechanism and a huge window, washer/wiper that not only looks good but also creates one of the largest rear cargo entries in the small car class.

From bright red and yellow to bold high-tech silver, Aerio's exterior color palette extends the design focus, giving buyers even more chances to express themselves. Mirroring the scheme on both models are color-keyed front and rear bumpers while the Aerio GS and Aerio SX extend the look with color-keyed door handles and mirrors.

CLASS-LEADING POWER

Suzuki engineers employed the same radical thinking under the hood to create something unexpected -- a sport sedan and sport crossover that lead the class. Delivering on the power promise made by the Aerio's aerodynamic exterior is a two-liter, aluminum, DOHC, 16-valve, inline four-cylinder engine producing an impressive 141 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque -- one of the most powerful standard small car engines available.

The Aerio's zero-maintenance, self-adjusting, two-stage timing chain and distributorless direct ignition system help maintain Suzuki's reputation for hassle-free reliability while the standard front disc brakes, liquid-filled motor mounts, power steering and MacPherson Strut front and rear suspension ensure premium-level drivability.

The Aerio offers many safety features including a reinforced unibody structure with cross members on the floor designed to control the impact energy during a collision; A, B and C posts built out of high-tensile steel that reinforce the passenger compartment for additional protection; front and rear crumple zones, as well as side impact beams, to help protect occupants in side collisions; and front seatbelts with pretensioners that activate when second-generation airbags are deployed. Child safety features include the LATCH child-restraint system, child-seat tether anchors and rear-door child safety locks.

INTERIOR

No less revolutionary is the Aerio's deceptively spacious interior. Aerio owners can take advantage of more total interior volume than most cars in the small car class -- and at 14.6 cubic feet, more trunk volume then every car in the class.

The interior configurations of the Aerio and Aerio SX have been engineered for a variety of passenger and cargo needs, resulting in a vehicle for any lifestyle. Taking its cue from both models' vertical profile and higher roofline is a high front seating position offering enhanced visibility, larger doors for easier access and under-seat storage.

A smart array of standard features in the Aerio and Aerio SX include air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, three-spoke, tilt steering wheel, rear-window defroster, multiple cup holders, adjustable front headrests, split-folding rear seat for improved trunk access and an uncluttered, asymmetrical instrument panel with all-digital speedometer and tachometer. Helping to pump up the volume is a six-speaker Clarion two-DIN AM/FM stereo with in-dash CD.

Adding to the interior design of both Aerio models are sporty bucket seats with a two-tone velour and mesh fabric, modeled after European styling. More importantly, the look will hold up to consumers' use requirements.

For consumers wanting even more versatility, the Aerio GS and Aerio SX provide power door locks, key-less entry, cruise control, height-adjustable driver's seat, rear-seat armrest and front map light, front seat-back pockets and under seat storage tray for added storage.

AERIO -- Latest in a line of new Suzukis

With the introduction of the Aerio, Suzuki continues to push versatility to new levels and helps to redefine a growing vehicle category in the U.S. market. In years past, it was the first V6-powered small SUV and first affordable seven-passenger SUV. This year, Suzuki keeps its place as an innovator with its sport crossover vehicle -- part sport sedan, part versatile cargo and passenger hauler and all sporty, stylish fun -- the genesis for a whole new way of looking at small cars. Like all Suzuki products, the Aerio and Aerio SX are designed to offer more to consumers who demand more in their life.

As the embodiment of the affordable sport sedan and sport crossover concepts, the Aerio compliments the Suzuki product line. The Aerio gives Suzuki an entirely fun, urban counterpart to its innovative three-row XL-7 and Grand Vitara SUVs and, most important, broadens the line to move Suzuki further into the U.S. market.

Suzuki has grown in the U.S. market at the fastest speed among Japanese car companies in the past five years. Suzuki is the only company that doubled sales from 1997 to 2001. The Aerio will help Suzuki continue to grow at this rapid speed.

The Automotive Division of American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC), Brea, Calif., was founded in 1985 by Suzuki Motor Corporation. ASMC markets automobiles in the United States through a network of more than 430 automotive dealerships in 49 states. ASMC's parent company, Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), based in Hamamatsu, Japan, is a diversified worldwide automobile manufacturer. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, it is based in Hamamatsu, Japan, and has 120 distributors in 191 countries.

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