Will Alto make a Splash?
Suzuki’s two babies are locked in battle, writes PAUL GOVER
AFAMILY feud has erupted over the future of Suzuki small cars in Australia. The European Splash is being pitched against the Asian Alto to decide the car that will lead a sub$15,000 onslaught next year.
Suzuki Australia is assessing the two against a strict set of local targets and is giving nothing away after the unveiling this week of the latest Alto.
The new baby will go public at next month’s Paris Motor Show after being set as a tease with the A-Star concept.
‘‘We’ll make the decision before the Sydney Motor Show,’’ says Suzuki Australia general manager Tony Devers. ‘‘We’re working through it all now and plan to announce the car in October,’’
Devers has already been to Hungary to see the Splash being built and is planning a similar visit to the Alto factory in India early next year.
‘‘I think we have the opportunity to create a new segment below light cars,’’ he says.
‘‘So we’re looking at the internal space in the car, benchmark safety with curtain airbags and electronic stability control, great quality and fuel efficiency about 4.6 litres/100km.’’
They plan the same fuel economy as a hybrid for one-third the price.
Suzuki has given no mechanical details of the Alto and Devers is also keeping quiet.
But Devers believes the Alto and Splash are very close and the final decision will come down to supplies and price.
‘‘The cars will be much the same except for styling,’’ he says. ‘‘They are very similar in most areas.
‘‘We know the quality of both plants is fine. The Hungarian plant is already doing the Splash for Europe and the UK. It’s as much about the pricing structure we can get.’’
He refuses to be drawn on price but it is likely to be well below the Hyundai Getz, which points to something in the low $13,000s.
‘‘We’d price it far enough away from Swift to not cannibalise sales,’’ he says.
Alto suggestion: the Suzuki Alto is being built in India and will make its debut at next month’s Paris Motor Show.