Swift start for mo­tor show

Suzuki prom­ises more power in its new Swift Sport, writes Paul Gover

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

THE first starter for the Aus­tralian In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show in Mel­bourne in July is al­ready in the blocks.

It’s the Suzuki Swift Sport, which is about to be pre­viewed in Europe and should be in Aus­tralian show­rooms in early next year.

The Sport is not a huge change from the reg­u­lar all-new Swift that has just been launched, but prom­ises more punch from an up­graded en­gine. Full de­tails will be re­vealed at the Geneva Mo­tor Show in just over a week.

The only dif­fer­ence for Aus­tralia sales is that the Swift Sport will con­tinue as a five-door hatch, where Europe gets a three-door body.

‘‘We’ll have it as a five-door,’’ says Tony Dev­ers, gen­eral man­ager of Suzuki Aus­tralia.

‘‘We would like the three-door, but it’s still only made in Hun­gary at the mo­ment. It’s very ag­gres­sive and pretty nice.

‘‘It will be more pow­er­ful than the cur­rent Swift Sport and, with the more rigid new chas­sis, should be a ripper han­dler.’’

Dev­ers says the Swift is cru­cial for Suzuki and that ex­plains its early con­fir­ma­tion for the mo­tor show.

‘‘We def­i­nitely in­tend to have it on our stand,’’ he says. ‘‘And we’ll get it in show­rooms early next year.’’

The new Swift is the last in a run of all-new mod­els from Suzuki that be­gan with the first Euro-fo­cused Swift more than five years ago and con­tin­ued with the Grand Vi­tara and Kiza­shi.

Suzuki faces a new-model drought for at least 18 months, and un­til it can ce­ment the de­tails of a new tech­ni­cal tie-up with Volk­swa­gen Group.

Dev­ers says work is un­der way in Ja­pan on po­ten­tial en­gine-shar­ing pro­grams, but he has no de­tails.

‘‘There is work un­der way be­tween Volk­swa­gen and Suzuki,’’ he says. ‘‘What it is, it’s too early to say.’’

In­stead, Dev­ers is fo­cused on a suc­cess­ful launch for the new Swift.

‘‘We’ll sell 2000 more Swifts a year with the new one, and the first few weeks are on track,’’ he says.

‘‘We did 1200 of the old model in Jan­uary, and we’re about 250 cars ahead of that with more than a week to go to the end of Fe­bru­ary.’’

Dif­fer­ent: Un­like Europe, where the Suzuki Swift Sport is avail­able as a three-door model, the ver­sion re­leased in Aus­tralia will be a five-door hatch.

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