New Global Strategy Suzuki Swift Destined For NZ
30 September 2004
New Global Strategy Suzuki Swift Destined For New Zealand
A completely new global strategy car developed by Suzuki is to go on sale in New Zealand early next year.
Acclaimed as one of the most significant models to be produced by the Suzuki Motor Corporation, the new Swift has been developed with European tastes and aspirations specifically in mind.
Unveiled at the recent
Paris International Motor Show, the fresh, contemporary
looking Swift is being built in both Japan and Europe.
Unique styling mirrors the handsome Suzuki Concept-S concept car that premiered at the Paris show two years ago and the appealing cabin has an upmarket finish.
But the new generation Swift hatchback is more than a special look. The car embodies the DNA of a company whose success as a compact car developer is paralleled by a position as the world's top motorcycle brand.
Most Japanese car development focuses first on the needs of Japanese motorists, but designers and engineers assigned to the new Swift project concentrated first and foremost on Europeans.
Eiji Mochizuki, a Senior Executive in Suzuki's super mini-car Engineering Division, said, "The new Swift is a Japanese car developed in Europe for today's global market."
Hiro Taka Ono, Director and Senior General Manager of the European and American Marketing Division of Suzuki, said, "We wanted the design and performance to be focussed particularly on the requirements of Europe.
"When a car is accepted by the sophisticated European customers, we know it will be accepted in other parts of the world as well," he said. "The new Swift is the first model to be developed with such a concept."
Mr Mochizuki said the car was a new departure for Suzuki, embodying a fresh approach to design and development.
"Suzuki designers and engineers collaborated extensively with European automotive professionals and motoring enthusiasts in pursuit of Suzuki's best compact car," said Mr Mochizuki.
Designers began with a clean sheet of paper to produce an eye-catching, refined, user-friendly car based on a totally new platform. The company even had to devise new systems for component development.
The chief Japanese designer on the project
was based in a European design studio for six months,
creating the first prototype for the new car.
Hiroshi Tsuda, President of Suzuki Motor Corporation, initiated the Swift project when traveling through Europe three years ago.
Mr Tsuda, who presented the car in Paris, underlined the new model's significance and the fact that the ambitious Swift had been developed to target European motorists.
New Swift is the first result of a radical new programme aimed at reaffirming and strengthening Suzuki's position as a compact-car innovator.
While the Paris show cars were finished in eye-catching red, the bright yellow Swift Rally three-door version was also on display.
Feedback from the Junior World Rally Championship was used in developing the new Swift's suspension.
"Rallying takes place on ordinary roads, not a race track," said Mr Ono. "Drivers have to act against ever-changing road conditions so ease of handing is important."
"Our JWRC challenge (with the Ignis) was a struggle in the first year but we improved in the second season (2003), winning twice, and this year we have had three wins in four rounds," he said.
European professional drivers were involved in development of the Swift, which is Suzuki's new vision for the compact car genre.
The car's new front suspension has the lower arms, steering box and rear engine mountings attached to a sub-frame. This provides superior rigidity, lower road noise and better stability.
A torsion beam rear suspension offers lower unsprung weight and enables camber angle and toe-in to be controlled effectively for better, more predictable handling.
This design is also more space efficient,
permitting a low, flat luggage area floor. As a result, the
load area is tall enough to accommodate a large suitcase
Suzuki also developed a new power steering system, upgraded the brakes and paid special emphasis on safety and security.
In Suzuki tests, the new Swift has driver and front passenger protection equal to a high four star European NCAP rating.
Suzuki also designed the car's bonnet, guards, wipers and front bumper section to help protect pedestrians in an accident.
The new Swift will give Suzuki New Zealand wider market spread, and reintroduce a model name which earnt the brand strong sales in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Larger than a Suzuki Ignis and smaller than a Liana, the new arrival is positioned to boost the Suzuki brand both here and internationally.
The 3.7 metre long Swift will be sold in New Zealand in five-door form with the 1.5 litre, 16-valve engine with variable valve technology.
In Europe 1.3 litre petrol and diesel versions are also going on sale and work has already started on the development of derivatives based on the same platform.