By on November 9, 2011

The Tokyo Auto Show is coming, which means it’s time for Japan’s automakers to roll out their weirdest, quirkiest, most Japanese designs. An electric city car apparently inspired by a CD player? Check. A 1,600 lb, super-efficient compact? Actually, the Regina Concept (above) almost looks more French than Japanese to my eyes. Finally, the Swift EV Hybrid rounds out Suzuki’s Tokyo-bound lineup. What does it all say about Suzuki’s future? One theory is that here may be an electrified Swift on the market at some point. Another holds that in the future, humans will be replaced by compact discs.

To be perfectly honest, as with so many Japanese cultural artifacts and phenomena, I’m completely baffled. Luckily our East-West relations expert Bertel Schmitt will be on hand at the Tokyo Auto Show to help us figure it all out.





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33 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Smaller, Lighter, Weirder, Suzukier Edition...”

  • avatar

    It, the green one, looks like Dexter, from Dexter’s Laboratory. Never watched the show, but weird can be good.

  • avatar

    The Regina looks a bit like a Connaught Type-D from the front.

    And an old Citroen like an Ami or a Bijou from the back and sides. Definite shades of 1960s NSUs in the shape as well.

    I kind-of like it.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed, I immediately thought the Regina was the new NSU Prinz.

      • 0 avatar

        That must be why I liked it! My handle over at CC is NSU1000TT. This car’s front has that proud, stubbornly un-aero prow, though there’s nothing NSU about the rear…Ro80, perhaps?

    • 0 avatar

      For the face of the car, Suzuki is trying to have it look like its brand new 3rd-gen MR Wagon that it sells in Japan.

      Its even trying to do a futuristic version of the touch-panely thing that in the current MR Wagon.

  • avatar

    The green car looks so quintessentially french that I find it surprising that it came from Suzuki. Should have been Citroen. Even the interior was very citroen-like with that single-spoke steering wheel. This is what modern-day Citroen Dyane would look like.

  • avatar

    I think it is a cute vehicle, but they never seem to build them as quirky as the show cars.
    But naming it the ‘Regina?’ Have they ever been to Regina? That would be akin to naming it the Milwuakee or the Akron, only without the glitter.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    At least it doesn’t look like everything else on the road. Makes me think of those “FUTURE CARS” that the Big 3 used to tease us with back in the day.

  • avatar

    The Green one looks like an angry toad. Comical

  • avatar

    Looks like the Ami successor Citroen should have made.

  • avatar

    Yes, it does look French- not a bad thing, either methinks. Or looks like a cross between a 1960 Corvair and a new Ford Focus.
    The interior looks creepy, tho.

  • avatar

    … because nothing says “Future” quite like a giant CD player!

  • avatar

    The Regina’s wrap-around styling line and headlight placement reminds me vaguely of the corvair. I like it. Darn – “scarey” beat me to it.

    The mini-micro 2-seater “cars” seem to be a big thing right now. It’ll be interesting visiting Europe and Asia in 10 years if these things actually do take off. Never in NA though!

    Also, I’m having trouble comprehending the missing 40 in the 60-40 rear bench… not installed? super hide-away? It looks like just folding the backs onto the seat bottoms would give a load floor even with the aluminum (battery cover?) box in back.

  • avatar

    The Regina immediately evoked, even before I read any of the accompanying text, a modern Nash Metropolitan and Chevrolet Corvair in roughly even amounts. Never would’ve associated this with Suzuki, though.

    It’s beautiful.

  • avatar

    Do a Google image search for “Creature From the Black Lagoon”.

  • avatar

    Is anyone here aware that you can get a rear wheel drive 5 door unibody wagon with a 170 HP inline-4, a manual transmission and multi-link independent rear suspension in the US for about $17,500 ($19,499 sticker, but that’s a joke).

    Suzuki sells it, but calls it the Grand Vitara, and markets it as just another cute-ute competitor, when it is actually much more similar to a BMW X3 than a CR-V or Escape.

    I’m tempted to buy one, but the Suzuki dealers around me keep going under and turning into buy-here-pay-here lots.

    Other than having the stupid name Grand Vitara is actually a pretty good looking truck. Which is more than can be said for the SX4, which, while being the cheapest AWD car for sale in the US, looks bland and cheap.

    Suzuki isn’t just an also ran, like Mitsubishi (except for the EVO), Suzuki actually has unique products that are different than anyone else offers. Too bad Suzuki gives them stupid names, fails to market them, and fails to update the SX4, its best shot at the US market.

    Another issue – Suzuki used to be an MPG leader with cars like the Swift (Geo Metro), but now that gas is expensive and people actually care about MPG Suzuki doesn’t have any competitively fuel efficient cars in the US market.

    What’s wrong with the picture? Nothing, it’s a damn good design. Suzuki’s actual cars could use some design.

    • 0 avatar

      The Grand Vitara is only available with 4WD here in Norway, and is usually thought of as a cheaper alternative to the CR-V and similar cars. It’s not quite as useless, or as fun to drive as a stripped out BMW X3. (but ridiculously cheaper)
      Judging by the facts on paper and the looks of it, I’d say it’s a heavier, slower (but more competent offroad) alternative to the last generation CR-V. I hate to admit that I really like the looks of it better than my Honda though. Suzuki are great at marketing their cars in Norway. The only small mistake is that they only sell 4×4’s in Norway, and uses that as their primary marketing. (unless it’s completely obvious, Norway is one of those countries where having a 4×4 is actually quite useful half the year)

  • avatar

    I never knew the Corvair was French. So do you lift up the body work at the rear of the roof line, and step over the side, or how DO you get into it? An oil-leaking, overheating, Fiberglas funny car, as interpreted by a 50 year old Corvair stylist?

  • avatar

    A Citroen Ami6 and a Nash Rambler got married and had a baby.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    I love the Regina’s styling and I’m slightly surprised there hasn’t yet been a Minecraft comment regarding the interior.

  • avatar

    Wish they would bring the Suzuki Swift (3rd generation – 2010) to the US. Had the change to ride in one while in Taiwan, neat little car, decent styling and compact.

  • avatar

    Wish they would bring the Suzuki Swift (3rd generation – 2010) to the US. Had the chance to ride in one while in Taiwan, neat little car, decent styling and compact.

  • avatar

    I’d like to see an actual 3D mockup of the Regina. It has potential as a cute car that certain market segments would go for in Europe and Asia.

    The angle of the green paint at the bottom may look better if it was less steep. I think it would look better if it went from the same height at the rear to the height of the wheel axle (mid-wheel height) just behind the front wheels.

  • avatar

    A strange love-child from an affair between Citroen and Chevrolet. Can’t be inspired by the Citroen Ami 6, though, as that car has backward sloping rear glass. It is a straight rip-off of the original DS at (the rear). The front is straight off a Corvair.

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