Will Alto make a Splash?

Suzuki’s two ba­bies are locked in bat­tle, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

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.

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