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Suzuki's wishlist


The heavy hitters from Suzuki are taking more back to Japan than just some happy snaps of their Australian Outback adventure last week.

Tucked into Suzuki board member and senior managing executive officer global marketing, Toshihiro Suzuki's, luggage will be a folder containing a big wishlist from Suzuki Australia.

His colleagues Oceania marketing chief, Satoshi Shimizu, sales planning boss, Takahiko Hashimoto and product planning manager Motoki Harada, also have a clearer understanding of what local buyers want after driving 250km through the Aussie outback.

The company's Australian boss, Tony Devers, says there are several key cars on this wishlist.

The return of the car that started it all for Suzuki back in 1980, the three-door GTi, is one of the contenders.

Devers wants the GTi back here to go head to head with the Peugeot 207 GTi and Volkswagen Polo GTi and he reckons there's a good chance.

“It's one of the things we're looking at,” he says.

With the popular Swift hatch responsible for half of the company's local sales, Devers says a GTi three-door would be a bonus.

A three-door Swift GTi will probably get the same 92kW/148Nm 1.6-litre VVT four cylinder as the Swift Sport.

Apart from the small hot hatch, Devers is looking at light commercials and a bigger four-wheel drive than the Grand Vitara.

“We'd like a Nissan Navara-type light commercial,” he says.

“I think that segment has being growing dramatically and will continue to be strong.”

A seven-seater off-roader could also be viable, he says.

“That would be good,” he says.

The bigger off-roader would follow the same “crossover” philosophy as some of Suzuki's Japanese rivals and be on sale as soon as 2010, boasting sporty dynamics and striking styling.

The Suzuki XL7 is available as a left-hand drive model only in North America but a newer off-roader is being designed out of Japan and is likely to be available in right-hand drive.

Devers is keen to stick with potential growth segments, ruling out a people mover.

“I wouldn't bother with a people mover, that segment is too small,” he says.

“That segment is only 1.5 per cent of the overall market.”

Currently Suzuki has models covering 45 per cent of the overall local new vehicle market.

“In two years time it could be 60 per cent,” he says.

Devers says the company does not want to be a huge volume player locally but clearly has a top 10 spot in its sights.