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Suzuki Australia has confirmed to CarsGuide it is in the “final stages” of negotiations with its Japanese parent company to bring its range of hybrid models Down Under.
The brand said it has been “aggressively pushing for the introduction of hybrid platforms available globally” for some time and was “very close” to the addition of hybrid models to its local line-up.
The brand confirmed this range overhaul will at least include a hybrid version of the Swift but will extend to other models across its range.
For reference, the Swift is available in the UK and Japan as a mild hybrid (MHEV) comprised of an integrated starter motor (ISG), lithium-ion battery and a stop-start system, or in Japan only as a series hybrid which mates a 10kW/30Nm transmission-mounted electric motor to the familiar ‘K12C’ 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (66kW/120Nm), which exists in the current car.
The series hybrid can run under limited electric power alone at up to 60km/h in ‘eco’ mode, according to the brand’s Japanese website, and the electric motor is also capable of assisting the petrol engine’s output under heavy acceleration. The system seems to be most similar to the one employed in Subaru hybrid products (which also have a transmission-mounted electric motor which mainly serves to assist the petrol unit).
Suzuki Japan claims the series hybrid model will cut 0.5L/100km off fuel consumption (down from 4.8L/100km to 4.3L/10km).
CarsGuide understands initially only the MHEV models will be introduced to Australia, although all Swifts destined from our market come from Japanese production lines.
The Swift would become one of only two hybrid small cars offered in Australia, taking the fight to the new-generation Toyota Yaris, which in its most affordable electrified form wears an MSRP of $29,020 for the SX Hybrid.
The also-built-in-Japan Vitara and Ignis, as well as the Europe-sourced S-Cross, are available only as ISG-equipped MHEVs, a technology the brand needs to be able to sell its range in markets which adhere to the strict Euro 6d emissions regime.
The budget-focused India-built Baleno hatch is not hybridised anywhere in the world, while the popular Jimny 4x4 with its unique engine and transmission combination is also not built with a hybrid option, which resulted in it recently being pulled from sale in European markets.
Suzuki Australia’s spokesperson confirmed the brand has not been offered the opportunity to introduce hybrids thus far from its Japanese parent, although the ‘aggressive’ timeline suggests we’ll see at very least the brand’s MHEV options sooner rather than later.