The Suzuki iK-2 turbo hatch iM-4 small crossover hybrid concepts revealed at the Geneva motor show in March this year look set for Australian shores once they enter production as early as 2016.
The company’s local factory distributor said today that it had requested its Japanese head office to “make these cars available for Australia”, as further ammunition in its quest to be the market-leader in both compact passenger and compact SUV sales to private buyers.
It’s all part of a grand plan to about grow its car sales here from 17,422 in 2014 to about 30,000 units in 2017. Read more about that plan here.
The iK-2 concept (pictured at top) previewed Suzuki’s new “liquid flow” design theme, sits on the company’s new compact car platform and — most importantly — is earmarked as the first recipient of the company’s brand new 1.0-litre direct-injected Boosterjet turbocharged petrol engine.
In concept form it measured 4023mm long on a 2520mm wheelbase, making it 170mm longer than the Swift and 90mm longer between the wheels. It’s still about a foot shorter than something like a Mazda 3 however, meaning if the production model shares these dimensions it will straddle the light and small-car segments.
Don’t forget that Suzuki is typically strong at cabin packing, however.
Meanwhile, the iM-4 miniature SUV (pictured above) is also on track for the local market as a crossover alternative to the ultra-affordable Celerio micro car, given its length of just 3700mm.
This vehicle is expected, like the iK-2, to be an additional member of the Suzuki range rather than a direct replacement for anything existing. An Auto Express report this week from the UK cited a company source indicating the iM-4 will be a soft-roader, while a brand new Jimny with traditional ladder-frame would lob around 2018 as a mud-plugging alternative.
The concept version of the iM-4 was powered by a 1.2-litre engine coupled with a mild hybrid system sporting lithium-ion batteries for storing recovered braking energy. Expect the production version to use the Celerio’s 1.0-litre three-pot or the iK-2’s small turbo as well, to keep costs lower.
Both new models — we’d expect them to arrive here in Australia potentially during 2017, though we’re chasing something more specific — will complement Suzuki’s existing light/small car and small SUV families.
The Celerio and Swift at times lead the combined segments in private sales, and Suzuki aspires for the same from its three-way attack in the small SUV class of the Jimny, S-Cross and the imminent Vitara style-leader (pictured both above and below) complemented by the venerable Grand Vitara, still ticking over in sales and up 7.4 per cent this year.
As we reported yesterday, the all-new Vitara launches in August this year with aggressive pricing, funky customisable styling and tech such as a standard touchscreen with Apple CarPlay.
Suzuki Australia is off to a strong start in 2015 compared to its shocking, stock-restricted beginning to 2014. Registrations are up 28.1 per cent for the year to 6457 units, with all key models bar the Kizashi (down 56.1 per cent) on the up. The Swift is up 63.7 per cent and the Jimny has grown 161.8 per cent.
The brand-wide growth for Suzuki Australia Pty Ltd this growth is even greater, up 33 per year-on-year. ‘Suzuki Australia Pty Ltd’ refers to the fact that Queensland has a different, private, importer for its Suzukis, and is counted separately internally (but not in industry-wide VFACTS figures).