Weekend Weird Crush: "The Small God For The Big Future"
Maruti Suzuki’s big news at the Delhi Auto Show was the debut of its production compact MPV, the Ertiga. But it wasn’t all staid family-carriers at the Suzuki stand, as the Japanese-Indian automaker also debuted its XA Alpha concept, described in this dramatically-narrated (to put it mildly) video as “The Small God For The Big Future.” Remember the Suzuki Samurai (our global readers will certainly remember the Jimny)? It’s getting ready for its 21st Century makeover…
Suzuki says that the styling of this subcompact SUV, aimed at Ford’s new Ecosport and GM’s forthcoming Mokka, was inspired by traditional Indian wrestlers. Which may well be the case, but there’s no deny that there’s at least a little Range Rover Evoque in the look.
But what’s more enticing than the styling itself, is the question of whether or not a vehicle like this could bolster Suzuki’s muddled US product line. Suzuki has already established itself as the go-to option for low-cost AWD vehicles in the US with its SX4… but one can’t help wondering how many sales that model leaves on the table due to its small-hatchback design. With a more rugged, more-SUV-looking model on similar underpinnings, Suzuki might just be able to build a rugged-entry-AWD image in this market as Subaru moves inexorably upmarket towards an “Audi Junior” positioning.
In any case, the B-SUV market is starting to get some real attention globally, as the global giants update their aged entrants in the segment for ever-more-demanding developing markets. And as a fan of this genre, with its small, funky, affordable and surprisingly utilitarian mini-utes, I certainly hope someone decides to test the US waters with something like this.
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A masculine, grownup Kia Soul...I like it! Suzuki is IMHO the most overlooked automaker. Yes, their dealership network is small, but their products are competitive, and now rid of the GM/Daewoo crap, their reliability is as good as anything out there. If they'd bring something like this along with the Swift, they might just get a foothold in the U.S. Having owned (and loved) a Kizashi for nearly 2 years, I think they deserve to succeed.
Count me as another happy Suzuki owner. I bought a 2007 SX4 AWD as soon as they came out (late summer of '06) for my wive's daily driver. As a matter of fact, it being a hatchback vs a pseudo SUV is a great advantage in my book. And I do agree, the dealership network is awful in the States. That new small tall box car looks interesting. Probably will slot underneath the (Grand) Vitara in the States. I think that the biggest problem with Suzuki (in the States) is marketing (and silly decisions, like not bringing in the Swift.) With a decent marketing, a decent dealer network, they could really hit the Koreans pretty badly, and some of their other co-patriot competition. When I ended up with the SX4, the car I was replacing was a Focus (2nd gen) SX5 and the Mini was on my list as well. The Suzuki killed them both in features (other than acceleration :) ) and price. And the AWD is briliant and the ground clearance is fine to get us through a foot of unplowed snowy driveway in the winter. That little AWD box will be a Soul killer, if they get their act together...