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” »
February 4th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
The Suzuki Swift has been New Zealand’s top selling small car for more than six years now and for 2011 it’s received a comprehensive make-over.
While the new model Suzuki Swift changes from the wheels up, it is a clear evolution of its highly successful predecessor. Changes to the exterior design are subtle making for an instantly recognisable vehicle but the fifth generation Swift may be more different to drive than to look at.
Apparently, there’s more usable interior space, improved ride and handling, benefits in fuel economy and higher levels of safety for the new 1.4-litre Swift five-door hatchback.
“Remarkably, while the new model is larger than before and has higher levels of equipment, it actually weighs less,” said Bill Grice, chief executive officer for Suzuki New Zealand. “Suzuki’s most highly acclaimed world car takes another step forward to secure its continued popularity, especially in New Zealand where the model has been an on-going hit,” he said.
Code named AZH414, the latest Swift is 3,850 mm long – a 90 mm increase on the outgoing RS415 model. The wheelbase is up 40 mm to 2,430 mm, body width increases only slightly to 1,695 mm, and overall height rises 10 mm to 1,510 mm. Continue reading “All-new 2011 Suzuki Swift goes on sale in NZ” »
January 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
Suzuki NZ has just taken a step up the safety ladder with the announcement that electronic stability control will be fitted on all its new passenger car models sold in New Zealand.
The technology, is now standard specification across the Suzuki range, from the least costly Alto hatchback to the most expensive Kizashi executive sedan.
“We are delighted this potentially life-saving feature is included in all our new cars,” said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand. “ESP is the most important step forward in motor vehicle occupant safety since the seat belt and we have made it our mantra for it to be available to more New Zealand motorists,” he said.
Arrival of the all-new sixth generation Suzuki Swift with standard ESP on each variant has completed the availability of the safety technology on all passenger models marketed by the brand.
According to several international safety agencies, one-third of fatal road accidents could have been prevented by ESP. From September this year, ESP will be mandatory on all new cars sold in the United States. It will also be a requirement in Australia by November 2013, and in Europe by 2014.
The technology features a series of sensors mounted at each wheel, on the steering wheels and in the centre of the car. These sensors constantly measure information at the rate of 50 times a second.
When understeer or oversteer is detected, ESP reduces engine torque and applies hydraulic pressure at the target wheel to ensure smooth, safe driving. Continue reading “Stability control now standard on all new NZ Suzuki cars” »
January 14th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham
The Suzuki Swift has romped ahead in the New Zealand new car sales race for the sixth successive year. NZ’s love affair with the Swift seems far from over with the small hatch posting a 17 per cent sales gain over the previous year while total Suzuki car sales increased by 14 per cent.
Still going strong even after six years, the fifth generation Swift hatchback is the most successful Suzuki passenger car model ever sold in New Zealand. Last year it was a key factor in Suzuki increasing its total new car sales by 22 per cent to a record market penetration of 7.1 per cent.
Suzuki sold 4,411 cars in 2010 compared with 3,612 in 2009 and maintained its position as the sixth best selling passenger franchise. Not only did the European inspired Swift outsell all other super-mini cars last year, it was second overall to the Toyota Corolla in all model sales.
“In a tough private buyer market the popularity of the Swift and the benefits of Suzuki’s real value pricing policy shone through to consumers” said Tom Peck, General Manager of Marketing for Suzuki New Zealand.
Amazingly, more than 20,000 examples of the current generation Swift are now on New Zealand roads. Continue reading “Suzuki Swift tops NZ hatchback sales race for sixth year” »
December 17th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
When it comes to cars, price point isn’t everything, just ask the Tata Nano. Major production delays, land debates and serious questions over occupant safety are slowly killing the Tata Nano and its aspirations in the Indian market. India’s people car has hit hard times despite the nation’s booming car market and a low asking price of just US$2,900.
The overall car market in India is growing at a crazy rate with a 22% year-to-date increase in car sales. With those sort of statistics Tata must have felt it was onto a sure thing and things started out well, with 200,000 advanced orders for the sub-subcompact leading to its 2009 launch. But sales have dropped severely with the Indian carmaker selling just 509 Nano’s in November, down from 9,000 in July.
By comparison India’s bestselling car is the US$6,200 Maruti Suzuki Alto. It offers a larger engine, more spacious interior and a longer history than the Nano, this leads many buyers to go with the Alto even though it costs more than twice as much. With 30,000 units sold in November, the numbers seems to agree. Even the US$7,800 Hyundai i10 is easily outselling the Nano.
So what are the reasons behind the Nano’s demise? Well it turns out that even though the cheapest cars are still where the buying action is in India, but peoples aspirations are getting greater and they want something more substantial. Also at the time of its launch, the Nano was unavailable and dealerships and many customers were put off by not being able to test drive the vehicle before placing an order.
Continue reading “Booming Indian car market shuns Tata Nano” »
November 12th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham
Changing brand perception isn’t an easy task; consumers often have strong mental associations that can be difficult to break down. Suzuki is well known by most for its motorbikes and successful range of small cars like the Swift. But Suzuki decided a few years back that this image wasn’t enough and it wanted to be seen as a full strength carmaker. The only way Suzuki could see to show it’s a heavy hitter was to move up a weight division into the mid-size sedan segment. Now, after learning the ropes with a series of concept cars Suzuki has unleashed the production version of its Kizashi sedan for the NZ market. But will it have the deft moves and raw firepower to trouble the established journeyman of this hard fought category? Car and SUV spent some time ringside with the Kizashi Limited and the Kizashi Sport to find out more.
So how does it look?
The Kizashi’s Euro-inspired styling is athletic and handsome with a strong road presence and clever branding. A large Suzuki logo is framed at the front by a wide mesh grille and large HID headlights. A curved bonnet pushes back into lean shoulder lines and thick C-pillars add to the muscular look. But it’s the Kizashi’s rear design which is most distinctive with its curved boot lid, wrap around taillights and integrated stainless steel exhaust covers that pay homage to Suzuki’s motorcycle designs. The stumpy boot and minimal rear overhang help make the Kizashi look compact but boot capacity is surprisingly large at 461-litres.
Continue reading “Suzuki Kizashi Ltd & Sport 2010 Review” »