The S-Cross concept SUV unveiled at the Paris motor show this week is ready for production and is expected here late next year or early 2014, a spokesman for Suzuki Australia says. “Europe will get the car first, then we've said we definitely want it,” says company spokesman Andrew Ellis.
The S-Cross will fit between the SX-4 hatch and the Kizashi in size and will be the first time Suzuki has made a C-size platform. This platform has a front-drive layout with the ability to support an all-wheel drive system. It will be first used in the production version of the S-Cross - which will be renamed - then used beneath a future hatchback and a sedan.
Ellis says the smaller Jimny 4WD and larger Grand Vitara wagon would continue in production and not be replaced by the S-Cross. The SUV version will be available in front-drive and AWD and will face up against compact SUVs including the Nissan Dualis, Volkswagen Tiguan, Mitsubishi ASX and Hyundai ix35.
While Europe's version will be made in Hungary, the Australian-bound model is to be built in Japan. Suzuki in Europe has already announced it will use a 1.6-litre turbo-diesel supplied by Fiat but that is the only drivetrain detail available at the car's debut in Paris.
Ellis says Australia will get a petrol engine and possibly a diesel, but the origin and capacity of these is not yet known. Suzuki is 9 per cent owned by Volkswagen and has access to a strong list of petrol and diesel engines. However, Suzuki and Volkswagen have a fragmented relationship that is soured further by Fiat's rumours that it wants to take over Suzuki.
Suzuki supplies to Fiat the SX-4 - also made in Hungary - which is rebadged Sedici. In return, Fiat supplies Suzuki with diesel engines for European cars, including the same 1.6-litre turbo-diesel fitted to the SX-4/Sedici. Suzuki UK sales and marketing director Dale Wyatt, speaking at the Paris show, says the company was “open to a partnership going forward” with production of the S-Cross.