Any hopes that Suzuki might have had a year ago that the Kizashi would revive its U.S. sales prospects were quickly dashed once the car went on sale in late 2009. The attractively style Kizashi has not made any noticeable dent in the hyper-competitive mid-size segment, however, and Suzuki's sales through July are down by 48 percent compared to its already terrible first half of 2009. After peaking at 101,884 units in 2007, Suzuki has only moved 13,501 vehicles through July of this year.

As a result, Suzuki reportedly sent out buyout offers to 150 of the 354 U.S. dealers it had earlier this year and about 50 of them accepted. One of the closing dealers is Gene Butman Suzuki of Ypsilanti, MI (pictured above) which in recent months only had a handful of new Suzuki models in stock. The former Suzuki store is now peddling used cars for the adjacent Ford outlet, although the signs are still in place as of today. Suzuki agreed to cash payments for franchises as well as buying back tools, inventory and signs. By eliminated dealers, Suzuki hopes to raise per-store sales for its remaining outlets, and according to Automotive News, no further network reductions are planned.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd | Image: Sam Abuelsamid / AOL]