June 17th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
The Suzuki Swift may be a lightweight in stature but it’s a heavyweight in terms of new car sales. Since 2005 when the compact hatch first reached our shores it’s battled hard with the much-loved Toyota Corolla for new car sales supremacy. Some months it won, some months it finished runner up but along the way more than 20,000 Swifts found their way into kiwi garages. That’s an impressive figure, but it’s just a fraction of the more than 2 million Swift’s that have been sold globally. So how did a one-time minnow car company like Suzuki do it? Simple really, with the Swift, Suzuki got the value-for-money ratio absolutely perfect. Now for 2011, the next-generation Swift has arrived in NZ and is already generating sales of more than 10 vehicles a day. Car and SUV joined the masses in getting behind the wheel of a new Swift to find out if Suzuki can really improve on a winning formula.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is how the old saying goes and it must have been in the minds of Suzuki designers when they penned the new model. The design is a safe evolution of its predecessor and only a keen eye will catch the differences at a glance. But take a closer look and the new model is more curvaceous and dynamic with a new front end including new wave-shaped headlights and a widened front grille. Along the flanks the glass profile narrows from the front windows to the rear, giving the Swift a more athletic stance. A- and B-pillars are still blacked out for a floating roof look and side mirrors and door handles are smartly colour matched. Rear design is defined by new red and clear tail lamps that push towards the back doors, a subtle hatch spoiler and bulky bumper. Our tested high-spec Swift Ltd was further dressed up with 16-inch alloy wheels and front fog lamps as standard kit. The Swift is available in 7 different colours with our test subject looking particularly dapper in ‘Boost Blue’. Continue reading “Suzuki Swift Ltd 2011 Review” »
June 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Suzuki is going from strength to strength in the NZ car market with May being its best selling month ever. The Japanese carmaker achieved a record 9.55 per cent share of the NZ new passenger car market and was the third top selling brand.
While total new car sales decreased compared to April, Suzuki volume jumped ahead by 19 per cent, largely on the back of the new Swift.
“This was in spite of some supply constraints due to the devastating March earthquake in Japan,” said Gary Collins, Sales Manager for Suzuki New Zealand. “Suzuki was the private car brand of choice, and the most popular Japanese make overall,” he said.
The new Swift attracted more buyers and was NZ’s top selling new car with May sales that were 39 per cent higher than the second most popular model.
While total new car sales in New Zealand for May were up 7 per cent on the previous month, demand for Swift increased 15 per cent during the same period. Continue reading “Suzuki snatches record share of NZ new car market” »
May 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
The Suzuki Swift, is re-establishing its dominance as the top selling passenger vehicle in the New Zealand market. The Swift was the number one new car choice in April, according to Motor Industry Association figures, with total sales 66 per cent ahead of its nearest rival – the Toyota Corolla.
A new version of the Swift was launched in New Zealand in February and has reignited the strong sales figures achieved by its predecessor in the last six years. In year to date sales, the Swift is still running second overall to the Toyota Corolla.
“Total new car sales in New Zealand for the opening third of this year are up by 11 per cent but the average sales rate for new Swifts is 29 per cent higher,” said Tom Peck, general manager of marketing for Suzuki New Zealand.
“Swift has a well established history in our country dating back 27 years. However, it was the arrival of the fifth generation model in 2005 that really saw the car take off,” he said. Continue reading “Suzuki Swift dominates NZ new car sales in April” »
April 1st, 2011 by Tim Grimley
It is with some enthusiasm that I watch the new craze of hand-wringing that is sweeping the country in the build-up to RWC 2011. Will the waterfront look nice? Is party central going to be a) up to standard or b) even up in the first place? How will our transport infrastructure deal with the influx of egg-chasing fanatics trying to access Eden Park? People have become so fixated on the potential banana skins waiting to slip up the whole shooting match that they’ve forgotten to ask the most important question of all.
Does it really matter?
Barring a few overly precious journalists and merchant bankers complete with trophy wives who will be frequenting the corporate boxes, do rugby fans give a stuff about the window dressing that everyone else seems in such a tizz over?
Steve wasn't too happy about handing over the keys to the Jimny
Speaking as a Pom who has for many years occupied the terrace at Leicester Tigers – arguably the biggest rugby club in England in every way – the answer is “probably not”. Despite the clubs’ status it still has stands made from wood and scaffolding, comes with bugger all in the way of parking facilities and offers no food more glamorous than chicken tikka massala pie; absolutely none of which stops people showing up in their droves for every single game.
I suspect you could upholster each seat with barbed wire and greet supporters with a punch in the face and there would still be queues on match days. The simple draw of having a few beers and a good laugh with some mates whilst watching top class rugby (please remember that we from the northern hemisphere still appreciate the noble arts of rolling mauls) is what really appeals – anything beyond that is rather unnecessary.
And come November, when all is done and dusted, while a few hacks may be cooing over the canapés or bitching about transport, the majority of stories will be coming from the fans regaling their friends with tales of all the interesting people they met, watched rugby and got drunk with. Which begs the question, why spend millions on redeveloping the waterfront when, if you want people to have a really good time, you could simply hire enough marquees to turn the main street in Kingsland into an Oktoberfest-style beer tent and be done with it? Flamboyant extravagance is all very well, but what people really get their teeth into is a bit of good old fashioned, back to basics fun. Continue reading “Try A Jimny, You’ll Be Converted” »
March 30th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
The Suzuki Kizashi has been a success in the NZ market with steady sales and various automotive awards, but it hasn’t been as well received in all markets. Now, in a bid to renew interest and give the Kizashi fresh hype, Suzuki has announced it will be taking it “to the next level” at the New York Auto Show.
What does that mean? Well no one really knows yet but Suzuki will take two new concept models to next month’s New York show. No details have been released yet but many suspect Suzuki will reveal a production version of its Kizashi Turbo concept car which was first shown last year.
This special concept featured a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine that produced 179kW of power and 330Nm of torque. The concept car got special treatment like a boot-mounted spoiler, a revised suspension set-up and 19-inch Enkei alloy wheels. If the turbo concept does go into production it will be a smooth move for Suzuki because a high-performance Kizashi would help build appeal for the whole range. Continue reading “Suzuki to unveil two new models at New York show” »
March 7th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
The new generation Suzuki Swift has only been on sale in New Zealand for one month but has already snatched the top sales spot.
Launched on February 5, the latest Suzuki hatch matched the top selling position of its predecessor by being the most favoured new car choice among Kiwi buyers.
“New car buyers – particularly private motorists – have voted with their wallets,” said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand. “Consumers have realised the good value package presented by the new Swift with its better economy and the fact that it is recognised by Euro NCAP testing as one of the safest cars in the world,” he said.
Suzuki took 9.7 per cent of the total new passenger car market, a record high for the franchise. At the same time, Suzuki was third best selling new car make for the month, its highest ranking yet.
“Swift has been the number one selling car to private buyers in New Zealand since 2008 and for the last six years has been the nation’s favourite small car,” said Mr Peck. “We are delighted with the early sales performance of the new model which is more than living up to the reputation of the highly successful out-going version.”
A total of 351 new Swifts went onto local roads in February, according to the official figures from the Motor Trade Association. The next best sellers were the Hyundai i30 (310), Toyota Corolla (212) and Holden Commodore (191).
The local sales achievement came within days of Suzuki Motor Corporation announcing the two million sales milestone had been reached by the Swift, six years and three months after the introduction of the model. Continue reading “New model Suzuki Swift already dominating NZ car sales” »
March 3rd, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
With the new generation Suzuki Swift recently reaching our shores many were left asking when we will see the new Swift Sport. That question has been partially answered this week with Suzuki releasing its Swift S-Concept at the Geneva Motor Show.
At this stage the S-Concept is being described as a design study and Suzuki has given very little away in terms of technical details. However expect many of the design cues on the concept to find their way through to the next Swift Sport.
Suzuki added just the right amount of sporty styling under that garish yellow paintwork, such as revised fascias, new lights, a large rear wing and fifteen-spoke 18-inch alloys wrapped around beefy 225/45 R18 tyres. Inside, there’s Recaro sport buckets and seating for four accented by carbon fibre trim. All up, it’s not a bad looking hot hatch, at all.
Nothing official has been released about what will be hiding under the bonnet of the next Swift Sport but power for the concept is provided by a 1.6 litre four-cylinder engine, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Output for the engine was not revealed, although it is likely a version of the 92kW four-cylinder M16A engine used in the current Swift Sport.
In Japan, the regular 2011 Swift is powered by a choice of 1.2 petrol and 1.3 litre diesel engines, producing 70kW and 52kW respectively. But the Swifts we get in NZ are powered by a new 1.4 litre engine, delivering 70kW and 130Nm of torque. Continue reading “Suzuki Swift S-Concept paves way for 2012 Swift Sport” »
February 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
With the release of the new generation Swift there has been a lot of speculation on weather Suzuki will indulge fans with a genuine sports version of the popular model. Now according to reports coming out of Suzuki there will be a 2012 Swift Sport and it will have a more powerful engine than the rest of the range.
What is unclear is what the engine will be, it could possibly be a re-tuned version current Swift Sport’s M16A 1.6-litre motor that produces 92kW or even an entirely new engine.
A turbocharged or supercharged powerplant seems unlikely, but with the new Swift having downsizing to a 1.4 litre powerplant, a reworked version of the old Swift’s 1.5 litre M15A inline four is also possible.
The new Swift Sport will ride on a firmer suspension set- up and feature stiffer springs. So expect lively driving dynamics. Suzuki’s engineers are also looking at keeping weight down, but the new next-generation Swift Sport is not expected to save any weight on the outgoing RS Swift Sport. Continue reading “New Suzuki Swift Sport being added to updated range” »