American Suzuki Motor Corporation has launched its first-ever six-cylinder sedan. The 2004 Verona, built by GM-Daewoo in South Korea, will be priced from $US16,499 when it goes on sale in September.

The Italian-designed Verona is Suzuki’s version of the Daewoo Magnus – a similar model will be sold as the Chevrolet Epica in Canada – and is the only midsize sedan in its class to offer a standard in-line, six-cylinder engine, mounted transversely.

The mid-level Verona LX will be priced at $17,799 and the top EX model is $19,499. Freight is $500.

Standard on all models are the 155hp, in-line, six-cylinder 2.5-litre engine, adaptive automatic transmission, air conditioning with micron air-filter, power windows and door locks, keyless entry, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, front fog lamps, heated power mirrors and AM/FM/CD/cassette player with six speakers and steering wheel controls.

The LX adds automatic climate control, alloy wheels, and ABS, while the EX adds a power sunroof, heated leather seats, and an eight-way power driver’s seat. Traction control is optional on the EX.

Suzuki will sell the Verona with a seven-year/ 100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty transferable to successive owners, plus three-year roadside assistance and warranty repair courtesy car programmes.

The Verona is the first of nine new models to be launched by Suzuki as it plans to triple its US car sales by 2007.

GM-Daewoo said recently it had resumed exports to the US and Canada with Chevrolet and Suzuki-badged versions of the Magnus. It expects to ship 3,000 a month.

More rebadged GM-Daewoo models are on the way to North America in coming months. In November, American Suzuki will add the Forenza, its two-litre version of the recently redesigned Daewoo Lacetti/Nubira and, early next year, Chevrolet will launch four- and five-door versions of Daewoo’s Kalos as the Aveo line in both the US and Canada.

The Kalos will also be sold by Suzuki Canada as the Swift, from early in 2004. Suzuki will also launch the Verona in Canada at the same time.