TOKYO –Motor Corp. plans to boost sales in Europe from 200,000 units last year to 350,000 in 2007, thanks to several planned new product launches.
This year, a new Swift and Grand Vitara are contributing to growth of 10.6% through September, to 175,932 units in Europe.
Next spring, after an introduction at the Geneva auto show, theSX4 SUV shared with Auto SpA comes to market, says Yutaka Higashikubo, president of Suzuki France.
While Suzuki is small in Europe and the U.S., the company is a leading player in Japan and India for small cars and SUVs.
Suzuki headquarters has laid out a strategy to grow from $22 billion in sales to $30 billion by 2007, according to Higashikubo, and the strategy relies on growth in the U.S. and Europe.
Replacement for Wagon R+ due in 2007.
The U.S. goal for 2007 is 200,000 units. Suzuki sold 80,103 vehicles there in the just-completed '05 model year, up 14.1%. (See related story: Suzuki XL-7 Plans Progressing)
In 2007, the Wagon R+ will be replaced. It isn't clear whether Opel/Vauxhaul will get a version of the replacement. Since 2000, theCorp. brands have sold a rebadged version as the Agila.
For 2008, Suzuki will replace the slow-selling Alto and enter the C-segment with what Higashikubo calls a sport coupe-station wagon.
"The design is finished" for the small city car that will replace the Alto and compete with theAygo, Higashikubo says, and the C-segment car, the size of a Mazda6 or Audi A4, will be available with a diesel engine.
In 2009, a compact SUV replacement for the Jimny will arrive. Details of that vehicle have not yet been settled, Higashikubo says. A general plan of replacements already is written through 2015.
The new SUV goes into production this fall at the Magyar Suzuki Rt. factory near Budapest.
reportedly intends to launch its version Dec. 1 on press day of the Bologna auto show. Fiat calls its version the Sedici, which is Italian for 16, the mathematical product of 4 x 4.
Higashikubo says he expects Suzuki to sell more vehicles than Fiat, because he believes the Fiat version will be priced too high. Magyar Suzuki targets production of about 50,000 SUVs in 2006, growing to 90,000 units annually, according to published reports.
The vehicle is expected to be offered with a 1.6L Suzuki gasoline engine and a 1.9L turbodiesel from Fiat. The accord between the two companies was signed on April 10, 2003, and runs through 2015, which covers cooperation on a replacement model.
Meanwhile, Suzuki reportedly has agreed to study a licensing deal under which it would produce diesel engines based on Fiat technology. Plans call for Suzuki to build 100,000 of the diesels annually in Asia beginning in 2010.