Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (KHI) says its alliance with Suzuki Motor Corp. will now include a version of the Mule 3010 4x4 utility vehicle.
Kawasaki introduced the first Mule utility vehicle in 1988. The line now consists of four models, all of which are built at Kawasaki’s manufacturing facility in Lincoln, Neb.
Kawasaki and Suzuki say the alliance, formed in late 2001, has enabled both brands to expand their product lines in the U.S. market and to share development costs for select models.
“The repackaging of the Mule fits the mold of how this alliance works with almost every other machine we’ve traded with Kawasaki,” Glenn Hansen, advertising and marketing manager for American Suzuki Motor Corp., told Powersports Business. “The idea is that we simply take it from them and change the color.”
Hansen said the shared utility vehicle will come in a yellow version and a blue version from Suzuki, with Suzuki labeling.
“The benefit to our dealers is those who aren’t Kawasaki dealers are getting a utility vehicle and getting it earlier than if we had to develop it all ourselves,” he said. “This machine will determine how far we go with the utility market.”
The name of the vehicle will be revealed at the Suzuki dealer meeting, June 13-15. The model is scheduled to be available by August.
The U.S. utility cart market deals in approximately 100,000 units per year, with Polaris, Kawasaki, Yamaha, John Deere, Kubota, Club Car and E-Z-Go all taking part.
Able to carry 800 lbs. and tow 1,200 lbs., the Mule 3010 4x4 is powered by a liquid-cooled, four-stroke V-twin engine.
The V-twin engine is matched to KAPS – Kawasaki’s continuously variable transmission – which features high and low range, plus reverse. Combined with shaft drive, power is transmitted to a dual-mode rear differential that can be locked.
Controls on the MULE 3010 4x4 include a high/low-range, forward/reverse shift lever and a lever for selecting four-wheel drive operation, all placed within easy reach on the dash.
The Mule’s chassis is a ladder-type frame that rides on a De Dion rear leaf-spring suspension. MacPherson struts handle front suspension duties. Rack and pinion makes steering light and maneuverable over rough terrain. Four hydraulically operated, self-adjusting drum brakes are sealed to protect from water, mud and other debris, and 23-inch tires provide traction.
Features include automotive-type controls, dual headlights, a bench seat, an hour meter, fuel gauge, horn, a tilting cargo bed, and an air restrictor gauge to indicate when the air filter needs to be cleaned or replaced. Also included:
D-rings to secure cargo, winch-ready tabs for easy winch mounting, and a passenger-side grab rail mounted on the cab frame.
The Kawasaki unit ($8,799) is available in Real Tree Hardwoods Green HD camouflage, traditional Hunter Green and Aztec Red — each formed in durable, color-infused plastic to help hide scuffing.
Other products co-branded via the Kawasaki/Suzuki alliance include the Z400 and KFX400; Twin Peaks 700 and Prairie 700; DR-Z110 and KLX110; and LT 50 and 80 and KFX50 and 80.
Kawasaki product lines are sold through a network of more than 1,500 independent retailers. Suzuki products are sold from a network of approximately 1,100 dealers. psb
Copyright 2004 Powersports Business