FRANKFURT – Suzuki Motor Corp. shows the new, third-generation '06 Grand Vitara that for Europe comes in two body styles: a 5-door similar to the one offered in North America, as well as a short-wheelbase 3-door version.

Like its counterpart for North America, the front-engine, all-wheel-drive cross/utility vehicle is unibody construction with a built-in ladder frame. (See related story: Grand Vitara Reinvented as Aggressive CUV)

That should maintain its reputation in Europe as a leading off-road vehicle, where it is the only CUV in its segment to offer permanent AWD.

3-door Suzuki Grand Vitara

The auto maker expects to sell 200,000 units of the global vehicle annually. The '06 model goes on sale in Europe Oct. 15.

The 5-door has a tweaked 2.0L 4-cyl. gasoline engine. A 1.9L diesel will be added to the mix next year, the same engine found in the Renault Laguna. Powering the 3-door is a 1.6L gasoline engine, with the diesel also to be available.

Germany will sell about 7,000 units in 2006, 70% 5-door and the rest 3-door, says Dominik Eiland, Suzuki International Europe GmbH product manager.

The CUV is built at Suzuki's plant in Iwata, Japan, near Hamamatsu.

The new Grand Vitara comes from a new, single-vehicle platform.

Reports out of Tokyo say Suzuki may introduce a hybrid version for the U.S., by 2010. The auto maker is developing its own hybrid system. (See related story: New Sedans, Utilities Coming for Suzuki)

apriddle@primediabusiness.com