Think small

Suzuki read­ies a sedan and up­dates the SX4 cross­over

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - Paul Gover

A SUZUKI small car that plugs the gap be­tween the Swift and Kiza­shi is coming within 18 months. The Corolla ri­val is part of a com­pact devel­op­ment pro­gram that has al­ready pro­duced a new SX4 cross­over and will soon in­clude a small sedan for China.

The SX4 was pre­viewed at the Geneva mo­tor show last month and the Suzuki sedan, the Au­then­tic, will be un­veiled at the Shang­hai mo­tor show on April 20. There is no of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion from Suzuki of its small-car plan but ev­ery­thing points to a ma­jor new push into the big­gest growth area in Aus­tralian mo­tor­ing.

‘‘ We really haven’t had a gen­uine small car to com­pete with the Corolla and Mazda3. But it looks as if it could be coming,’’ Suzuki Aus­tralia gen­eral man­ager Tony Dev­ers tells Cars­guide.

‘‘ The small-car seg­ment is where we need to be. It’s most likely to be a hatch, es­pe­cially for Aus­tralia. We’d pre­fer that be­cause it’s 80-90 per cent of the sales in that seg­ment.’’

The last time Suzuki made a ma­jor ex­pan­sion of its line-up was when it in­tro­duced the orig­i­nal Swift and mid-sized Kiza­shi. Those cars ar­rived be­fore the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

‘‘ We’re hop­ing for a plethora of new models. We’ve very keen to get new and up­dated models in the growth seg­ments,’’ Dev­ers says. ‘‘ We got through the GFC, we’re mak­ing profit and R&D is back into full swing.’’

Dev­ers says Suzuki is al­ready plan­ning for the lo­cal ar­rival of the SX4, prob­a­bly near the end of the year, but an­tic­i­pates it will draw dif­fer­ent cus­tomers to show­rooms. ‘‘ We’re not sure if we’ll call it a small car or an SUV. It’s more like a Nis­san Dualis than the cur­rent model.’’

Ex­pan­sion ahead: Suzuki’s Chi­nese con­cept; (in­set) SX4

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