By on June 22, 2010

The 2011 Suzuki Swift has debuted in Europe, and though it looks a lot like its predecessor, Suzuki says it might, maybe, just possibly come to the US this time around. Will they wait for a plug-in version? Will they give it more power than the Euro-market 92 horsepower 1.2 liter? Will the Kia Soul know what hit it? Tell us how Suzuki should bring this car to the US (if at all), and we’ll promise not to make any 18th Century literary references… for now.

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37 Comments on “2011 Suzuki Swift: USA Or No Way?...”


  • avatar
    0menu0

    With 140ish hp and a 6spd manny count me in.

  • avatar
    SecretAznMan

    Honesty is the best policy. Slightly stylish basic transportation with a bit of funk. Get their feet wet for a year then send over a hotter version with 145 hp. Don’t try to play into Mini’s game. Suzuki has the potential to be the next Mazda, a niche player with devout followers.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    They HAVE to bring it over if they want to have any chance at success in the US market. The Swift by most accounts is a good, fun to drive car, and the styling is distinctive enough catch some attention. Actually, the previous model was even more distinctive which I think would have been better; this new one has softened a lot of the lines. I believe that they offered a 1.5l engine on the old model, so I would expect that if they bring it to the US it will have a similar power plant. Fuel economy will be important. The SX-4 was not competitive in that category with the Civic, Corolla, etc. The Swift needs to be on par with the class.

  • avatar
    AndyR

    Can someone explain to me how this is *not* the Nissan Versa hatch I’m looking at right now?

    • 0 avatar
      The Walking Eye

      Rear end is slightly more rounded. Headlights are a little longer. And most importantly, they replaced the grill with honeycomb and a Suzuki badge. :)

      I pulled up a comparison shot of the Versa, and wow is this a dead ringer.

      Swift and Versa side by side

    • 0 avatar
      ttacfan

      How does it compare to Versa interior size – wise? If it is comparable size plus offering telescoping steering wheel, I would take a second look.

    • 0 avatar
      flameded

      I’d say the Suzuki is MUCH better looking.. (than the Nissan Versa)

      The Versa looks ,well, kinda like its broken toward the back windows/roofline…and the wheels just look too small on it or something.

      Actually the more I look at the Swift…it looks like..If the Nissan Versa and Mini Cooper had a kid.

      JMO…?

    • 0 avatar
      JeremyR

      The rear styling is very similar. Which is unfortunate, as I’m not a big fan of the Versa’s rear “hump.”

  • avatar
    drifter

    This car manufactured and sold in India with a sweet 1.3L Direct Diesel injection engine offering 50+mpg and 170lbft of torque. Way better than any VW sold in that range.

  • avatar
    MusicMachine

    I’ll take mine with a 1.0 liter three pot! (GAS)

  • avatar
    Robbie

    Can anyone explain to me how will this Suzuki in the US market can draw people way from the Honda Fit….?

  • avatar
    ajla

    Bringing the Swift over won’t matter much if Suzuki only has 5 dealers left in the whole country.

  • avatar

    It won’t. It’s a smaller car… much smaller.

    But it’s funkified. Steers better than a Fit. Has a nice, rorty engine. Does tail-out rally shenanigans on the right types of road. It’s a good old-fashioned “warm hatch.”

    It also comes with an optional 1.6 liter engine that puts out 120 hp and has forged competition internals. Would make a good competitor for the MINI.

    Only unknown is how much more refined the next-generation model will be.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    Kinda looks like a Kia Soul to me, just shorter. Cheap and manual transmissioned, I’d think it would sell. Suzuki should bring this over and challenge Mini to a race, that might work.

  • avatar

    In this segment, price is the king. VW (Suzuki’s partner) will sell the new Jetta with a 2.0L engine in the States starting at $16,000. The current SX4 Sedan starts at $13,360 and the hatch SX4 SportBack at $18,000. Starting at around $13,000 would be crucial.
    The Swift has a decent styling (as noted in other posts), which doesn’t say “this is all I can afford”, also it’s not a rebadged Daewoo. These two positives will help a lot.
    It’s also the typical Japanese small outside, big inside design.
    Fuel economy and resale value will be two other factors to consider when bringing the Swift to the States.

    The big negative for Suzuki is the brand image. It needs a lot of help in U.S. in the automotive business. I’m still intrigued by Suzuki’s lack of understanding in translating assets from the motorcycle, ATV and marine businesses into the automotive one.
    The rebadged Nissan pickup trucks are not a good answer.
    Products themselves and their styling are two of Suzuki’s problems, but not the only ones. The main one is: what do they stand for?
    Their site says:

    Three important statements but not strong. There is no consumer segment defined by any of this criteria.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    They should bring it here much like the MINI Cooper was brought here, in two major specs.

    Base Swift (US Spec):
    -1.6L 120hp four
    -5 speed manual or auto
    -base or optional uprated suspension/wheels

    “Sport” Swift (US Spec)
    -1.6L DI, turbo 175-180hp four
    -6-speed manual (and 6-auto for the single chicks)
    -uprated suspension/wheels standard
    -JCW-type option for uprated brakes/intake/exhaust/ecu to squeeze out another 20-30hp

    Also like MINI, offer a la carte accessories/options to allow buyers to get the Swift they want (and keep transaction prices high).

  • avatar
    davejay

    Suzuki isn’t going to make headway here until/unless they do these things:

    #1: Increase their dealer network. I’d be the proud — but stranded — owner of an SX4 crossover instead of my Versa, if I wasn’t annoyed by the distance I’d have to drive to the dealer after the local place closed a few months before my purchase intention, and then that further dealer closed shortly thereafter. Now the nearest Suzuki dealership (other than a repair-only place) is almost 40 miles away, and I’m not in the middle of nowhere — I live in Los Angeles!

    #2: Never ever sell another Daewoo again. Suzuki makes great cars, but their rebadge partners have not in the past. Granted, their lineup of cars in the US is extremely limited without rebadge partners, but the product is still solid.

    #3: Bring cars like the Swift in, to expand their lineup with cars as good as the SX4.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    I thought Suzuki was leaving the US market shortly?

  • avatar

    Since GM has dropped its stake in Suzuki, I don’t think we’ll have to worry too much about rebadged Daewoos anymore.

  • avatar
    John R

    Do what Honda won’t! 150hp-ish basic, 175-180hp-ish hotted up.

    The CR-Z is such a let down. I can’t figure out why they wouldn’t shove a K20 into the Fit, called it the Type-R and then called it a day. Ingrates.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Suzuki dropped the ball when they watered down the terrific looking Kizashi concept car to total blandness.

    They were on somewhat of a roll about 8 years ago, growing well and opening new dealers; at one point, they were one of the faster growing “brands” in the US, but it didn’t last.

    If they want to survive in the US, then the Swift is going to be an absolute necessity – but in order for them to be able to churn a profit on the car, I suspect it’ll have to be made with partner Maruti in India, specifically for the North American market.

  • avatar
    KayakerNC

    Ajla said; “Bringing the Swift over won’t matter much if Suzuki only has 5 dealers left in the whole country.”

    My closest dealer (20 miles)is now closed.
    Who cares if Suzuki brings in another POS?

  • avatar
    cdotson

    Last August I test drove an SX4 at a Suzuki dealer just 8 miles from my house. They were run out of a stand-alone CPO Toyota shop (same dealer name as the new Toyota dealer a few miles down on another road), which I thought was both weird and kinda sketchy. That dealer no longer does Suzuki.

    The nearest Suzuki dealer is now 60 miles away from my house, and I’m in Richmond, VA. Someone (whom I don’t know) in my neighborhood has an SX4…don’t know what they’d do for warranty work in a pinch.

    I would seriously like to compare the Kizashi as we’ll have to be in the car market soon, but I just can’t see buying from a dealer that far away.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      You guys complaining about dealer distance are nothing. Gallup, NM: two closest Suzuki dealers, Farmingington, NM – 91 miles, Albuquerque, NM – 125 miles.

      And yes I like the SX4 hatch and the Kashi.

  • avatar
    srogers

    As Niky mentioned above, this thing is small. I believe that it is MINI-small.

    So no, it doesn’t compete directly with the Versa, Juke, Fit, etc. I think that the pie for tiny cars is too small to cut up between MINI and this. Particularly since most N.Americans will just upside to a Fiesta or Fit.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Another small car in the market? (Yawn…..)

  • avatar
    Russycle

    If Suzuki is going to survive these things will need to stand out. Sell a base version that gets Prius mileage at a Versa price, take advantage of the BP spill and market it as the eco-friendly, patriotic choice. Sell an upscale turbo MINI-killer version and play up Suzuki’s performance-bike heritage. Suzuki’s sales are reaching hail-Mary territory, they need to take some chances.

  • avatar
    r129

    I’d buy one! But I already own an SX4, so maybe I’m biased. It’s a solid, fun-to-drive little car, and I have no complaints about it. Of course, $5000 off and 0% financing also factored into my purchase decision.

    I didn’t realize the dealer situation was so bad. I’m in Buffalo, NY and there are 3 dealers close by. It’s surprising to hear that places like LA and Richmond, VA don’t have any dealers in the area.

  • avatar

    A K20 Fit won’t work. Sure, it’ll fit, but packaging will be too tight for OEM reliability and maintainability. Maybe an R20 Fit would do (narrower engine, would still have about 150 hp)… shoehorn the rear multi-link from the Civic under its skirts (though it’s not really an impressive multi-link system, to be honest). A Fit with CR-Z spec steering and stiffer dampers would be the bee’s knees… but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

    The Swift’s packaging precludes anything bigger than the current 1.6 (which actually gets 125 hp, not the 120 I mentioned earlier, forgetful me). But it does have a JWRC version that’s turbocharged, so it’s remotely possible they could offer a road-going turbo version like Mini does.


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