A replacement for the nine-year-old Suzuki Grand Vitara remains several years away from launch, according to the general manager of the company’s local operations.
The company remains confident, however, that the model’s renowned off-road prowess — widely regarded among the best in segment — and loyal clientele should see it continue to pick up sales into its 10th year on sale and well beyond.
Furthermore, according to Suzuki Australia’s general manager for automobiles Andrew Moore, the smaller but still rugged production iV-4, the road-going name of which remains under wraps, should help pick up any slack and keep Suzuki firmly in the SUV game when it arrives around mid 2015.
“There is a medium SUV in development but it’s a number of years away,” Moore said, adding that a seven-seat version to act as a belated successor to the defunct XL-7 was high on the wish list.
“[But the Grand Vitara] is such a reliable vehicle, has a great following of customers that want that real 4×4. It’s maintaining [sales] quite well. We also expect current Grand Vitara customers to look at iV-4.”
The ageing Grand Vitara has its work cut out for it snaring sales in the bustling compact SUV market against leaders such as the Mazda CX-5 and Toyota RAV4, to name just two of many. With 1198 sales thus year, sales are down 36 per cent in a segment down only two per cent.
However, with its ‘proper’ off-road credentials and full-time AWD system (though a rear-drive version can be had), the Grand Vitara retains a niche among the segment’s more adventurous buyer — a sub-section the company hopes will not be perturbed as the car gets longer in the tooth.
The company maintains a similar approach with its returning Jimny Sierra, with its aged design but famed toughness. This pair, along with the softer S-Cross crossover and forthcoming iV-4, give the company wide coverage in the still-strong SUV market, which is belying the flat total market.