PARIS – With a thorough redesign of its Swift compact car on display here at the international auto show, Suzuki Motor Corp. says it is considering new production locations for the vehicle.

“Today is a very important day in Suzuki's history,” says Hiroshi Tsuda, Suzuki president and chief operating officer. “The new Swift we introduce today is our first world strategic model. We are planning to produce 300,000 units in the factories in Japan, China, India and Hungary. Production in ASEAN countries is also being considered. Most importantly, the new Swift has been developed focusing on the European taste and its performance has been tuned to cope with the European requirements.”

The new Swift comes with a choice of three upgraded powerplants – the 1.3L M13A gas engine, the 1.5L M15A gas engine and the 1.3L DDiS diesel engine. There also is a choice of three transmissions: a 5-speed manual, a 5-speed manual-automatic, and a 4-speed automatic.

“We started this project in 2002,” recalls Hirotaka Ono, director and senior general manager-Suzuki Europe/America Marketing Div. “The Swift is based on the Concept S presented here in Paris in 2002. We also started our challenge for the Junior World Rally Championships in Monte Carlo in January that year. The feedback on the JWRC played a crucial role in the development of Swift.”

The new Swift bowed at the Paris Motor Show.

The gas engines feature variable valve timing and the turbo-charged diesel powerplant has a common-rail fuel-injection system. Each engine is tuned with an emphasis on performance at low and mid-range speeds, Suzuki notes.

The newly developed platform provides the new Swift with a considerable width at 66.5 ins. (169 cm) and a long wheelbase at 94.1 ins. (239 cm)

The front suspension has a new design in which the lower arms, steering gearbox and rear engine mounting are attached to a suspension subframe. Suzuki says the set-up reduces road noise and provides a stronger feeling of stability. The torsion-beam rear suspension improves handling, according to the auto maker.

The exterior design incorporates clear headlamps, a wide air-dam, wheels positioned near the corners and boldly contoured shoulder lines that run from the headlamps to the rear of the body.

The Swift’s cabin features a 3-spoke steering wheel, a spherical shift knob, an illuminated ring around the speedometer, 40/60 split rear seat and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

bcorbett@primediabusiness.com