July 23, 2008

Suzuki Auto Hits Red Carpet With Actors Nick Cannon, Melonie Diaz and Jay Hernandez at 2008 New York International Latino Film Festival

NEW YORK, July 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Suzuki Auto made a star appearance as the presenting sponsor of the New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF) opening night film "American Son," featuring rising stars Nick Cannon, Melonie Diaz and Jay Hernandez. Suzuki's sponsorship of the NYILFF, which runs from July 22 through 27, 2008 in New York City, is part of the carmaker's ongoing effort to connect its brand and products with a wide range of Latinos -- a segment that represents nearly 10 percent of Suzuki new vehicle sales.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080723/LAW038)

As part of the festival's opening night activities, Suzuki presented its first ever "Way of Life!" Award to Latina star on the rise Melonie Diaz. The award recognizes Diaz as a flourishing young Latina actress that embodies the authentic, bold and dynamic qualities of Suzuki's "Way of Life!" brand philosophy. Included with the award, the automaker presented a $2,500 cash donation on Diaz's behalf to the Manhattan-based Latin American Theatre Ensemble/El Porton del Barrio (LATE), a not-for-profit theater group responsible for the development of dramatic and literary talent from within the Hispanic-American community of New York City.

"The Suzuki brand is about confidently exploring the world and discovering one's ability to live life to the fullest, and we're glad we've found a like-minded partner in the New York International Latino Film Festival," said Gene Brown, vice president of marketing for American Suzuki Automotive Operations. "Just as Suzuki is dedicated to providing fun and exciting products that reflect our customers' 'Way of Life' attitude, the festival shares a similar commitment to providing exhilarating and culturally relevant entertainment for film fans."

"I feel honored Suzuki has recognized me with the 'Way of Life!' Award and is supporting the Latin American Theatre Ensemble," said actress Melonie Diaz. "It's exciting to see companies like Suzuki Auto support not only a great film festival, but also organizations that help aspiring Latino talent."

The NYILFF is one of the leading film festivals that focuses on the urban Latino experience and presents the work of the hottest emerging filmmakers from the U.S. and Latin America. This year's festival includes screenings throughout the day and evening, industry panel discussions, music showcases and an exclusive partnership with Australia's Hola Mexico Film Festival, all tailored to reach the diverse and generational Latino audience. Visit http://www.nylatinofilm.com/ for a complete festival schedule.

About Suzuki

The Brea, Calif.-based Automotive Operations of American Suzuki Motor Corporation was founded in 1985 by parent company Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) and currently markets its vehicles in the United States through a network of approximately 500 automotive dealerships in 49 states. Based in Hamamatsu, Japan, SMC is a diversified worldwide automobile, motorcycle and outboard motor manufacturer with sales of more than two million new automobiles annually. Founded in 1909 and incorporated in 1920, SMC has operations in 193 countries and regions. For more information, visit http://www.media.suzukiauto.com/.

About the New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF)

Launched in 1999, the NYILFF is now the premier Urban Latino film event in the country. The NYILFF's mission is to showcase the works of the hottest emerging Latino filmmaking talent in the U.S. and Latin America, offer expansive images of the Latino experience, and celebrate the diversity and spirit of the Latino community. Programming includes the flagship film festival in NYC, new music and art showcases, family and community events, scholarships for aspiring filmmakers, and a national short film competition in partnership with HBO. For more information, visit http://www.nylatinofilm.com/.

Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080723/LAW038AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org/AP PhotoExpress Network: PRN6PRN Photo Desk, [email protected]

Suzuki Auto

CONTACT: Jeff Holland of American Suzuki, +1-562-640-1758,[email protected]; or Mariana Baserga of PainePR, +1-213-996-3794,[email protected], for American Suzuki

Web site: http://www.media.suzukiauto.com/http://www.nylatinofilm.com/