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Mike Stevens | Aug 19, 2009

ONE OF THE FEW remaining carmakers yet to move full-steam into the hybrid market, Suzuki is believed to be investigating the potential for a petrol-electric hybrid version of the upcoming 2010 Suzuki Kizashi.

The regular Suzuki Kizashi, coming to Australian showrooms next year, will draw power from a 2.4 litre high-output four-cylinder petrol engine, developing around 130-150kW.

According to Japan's Nikkei newspaper, Suzuki is looking to offer a hybrid version of the Kizashi in 2011, marking the manufacturer's first major foray into hybrid vehicles for the global market.

Details of the hybrid powertrain are thin on the ground, but the Nikkei report suggests that the hybrid Kizashi could draw power from technology developed with long-time US partner General Motors.

According to US financial paper Bloomberg, Suzuki spokesman Hideki Taguchi "declined to deny the report".

If the report is true, it points to a new move by Suzuki to compete in the thriving Japanese hybrid market. Toyota currently offers the third-generation Prius and is understood to be developing a hybrid version of the Auris/Corolla.

Honda recently launched the Insight, with a hybrid Fit/Jazz and the new CR-Z known to be upcoming models.

Nissan, moving beyond hybrid technology, revealed the all-electric LEAF earlier this month, due to land in the US and Japanese markets next year.

Mitsubishi and Subaru also have electric vehicles ready to go, with the i-MiEV and Plug-in Stella launching this year.

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