Suzuki plan­ning Swift action

Ja­panese ex­ec­u­tives have gone home with big plans af­ter their Out­back jour­ney, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

THE heavy hit­ters from Suzuki are tak­ing more than just happy snaps of last week’s Grand Vi­tara Aus­tralian Out­back ad­ven­ture back to Ja­pan.

Tucked into board mem­ber and se­nior manag­ing ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer global mar­ket­ing Toshi­hiro Suzuki’s lug­gage will be a folder con­tain­ing a big wish­list from Suzuki Aus­tralia.

His col­leagues — Ocea­nia mar- ket­ing chief Satoshi Shimizu, sales plan­ning boss Takahiko Hashimoto and prod­uct plan­ning man­ager Mo­toki Harada, also have a clearer un­der­stand­ing of what lo­cal buy­ers want af­ter driv­ing 250km through the Aussie Out­back.

The com­pany’s Aus­tralian boss Tony Dev­ers says there are sev­eral key cars on this wish­list.

The re­turn of the car that started it all for Suzuki back in 1980, the three-door GTi, is one con­tender.

Dev­ers wants it back here to chal­lenge the Peu­geot 207 GTi and Volk­swa­gen Polo GTi, and he reck­ons there’s a good chance.

‘‘It’s one of the things we’re looking at,’’ he says.

With the pop­u­lar Swift hatch re­spon­si­ble for half of the com­pany’s lo­cal sales, Dev­ers says a GTi three-door would be a bonus.

A three-door Swift GTi will prob­a­bly get the same 92kW/148Nm 1.6-litre VVT four-cylin­der as the Swift Sport.

Apart from the small hot hatch, Dev­ers is looking at light com­mer­cials and a big­ger four-wheel drive than the Grand Vi­tara.

‘‘We’d like a Nis­san Navara-type light com­mer­cial,’’ he says.

Dev­ers also wants a more up­mar­ket ‘‘Euro­pean’’ brand fo­cus in readi­ness for the Kizashi mid-size sedan, which is due to go on sale late 2009 or early 2010. An al­most pro­duc­tion-ready model will be at the Syd­ney Mo­tor Show in Oc­to­ber.

The con­cept has a new 2.0-litre tur­bod­iesel with six-speed se­quen­tial au­to­matic driv­ing all four-wheels.

‘‘We’ve got the op­tion of tak­ing late 2009 pro­duc­tion, but we don’t want to release the car into the hol­i­day pe­riod so we might hold it back to Jan­uary 2010,’’ he says.

The big­ger seven-seater of­froader will fol­low the cross­over phi­los­o­phy of some of Suzuki’s ri­vals and be on sale in 2010.

The Suzuki XL7 is avail­able as a left-hand drive model only in North Amer­ica, but a newer off-roader is be­ing de­signed and is likely to be avail­able in right-hand drive.

Chance: (left) the Suzuki XL7, which made its de­but at the 2006 New York In­ter­na­tional Auto Show. Chal­lenger: (right) the Suzuki Swift GTi could re­turn to take on Peu­geot and Volk­swa­gen.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.