Suzuki Alto Lapin - Click above for high-res gallery
It may come as a surprise to many that Suzuki, just a small niche player in the U.S. automotive market, sells more vehicles in Japan than every automaker besides Toyota. Most of Suzuki's sales, though, are of the tiny Kei car variety and therefore feature engines displacing just 660cc. As much as we'd love to see a few little Kei cars here in the States, federal crash test regulations seem unlikely to allow that any time soon.
For this reason, Suzuki is reportedly counting on its ongoing collaboration with General Motors for the development of hybrid and electric automobile technology. In addition to its hopeful partnership with The General, Suzuki is said to be investing much of its $1.1 billion budget for research and development of electric vehicles and hybrid drivetrains of its own design.
[Source: Nikkei (sub. req'd) via Green Car Advisor]