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Suzuki to launch aggressive drive for Middle East market

DUBAI - Japanese auto giant Suzuki Motors is set to launch an aggressive six-month marketing campaign in the Middle East.

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The campaign will focus on advertising and public relations initiatives to promote a range of new Suzuki models, vehicle customisation services and enhanced after-sales benefits for motorists. 

Advertising, mainly on pan-Arab TV, and in magazines and newspapers, will be handled by Jeddah-based creative agency, Links Communications. PR will be co-ordinated by Dubai-based firm, Orient Planet. 

The campaign is part of a region-wide brand building exercise by Suzuki, which is seeking to capture a bigger slice of the Middle East lucrative motoring pie.

"The Middle East is a very important market to Suzuki and has always proved to be full of success for the Japanese brand," said Kazuyuki Yamashita, staff manager of Suzuki's Middle East & Africa marketing group at a recent dealership meeting in Dubai.

"Our new models are tailor-made to enhance comfort and efficiency, characters that we believe will further uplift Suzuki's brand image in the region as we prepare to launch more cars."

Brands such as Toyota, Ford, Chevrolet and Nissan, which are far bigger advertisers in the region, have proven more popular with motorists, especially in the highly competitive SUV and off-road segment.

However, there are signs that Suzuki is starting to make inroads. In September last year, Suzuki Saudia -- distributor for Suzuki in Saudi Arabia -- announced an increase of 187% in SUV sales for the first half of 2006, compared with the same period in 2005.

The company said its success in Saudi Arabia had been driven by the popularity of the redesigned and revamped Grand Vitara model.

Suzuki is represented in the Middle East by dealerships in Kuwait, Yemen, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Lebanon, Qatar, Jordan, Syria and Bahrain.

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