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Suzuki boosts Swift with GA auto

GA icon: Suzuki expects the new auto option on its GA base model to lift sales by 150 units a month.

Extra sales expected for Suzuki’s Swift light car with new entry-level auto variant

Suzuki logo18 Aug 2011

By TERRY MARTIN

SUZUKI Australia has introduced an automatic transmission option on the entry-level GA variant of its all-important Swift hatchback, claiming no other vehicle in the light-car class “comes close” to matching it in terms of value for money.

Priced from $17,690 (plus on-road costs), which like other models in the range represents a $1700 increase over the equivalent manual gearbox variant, the GA four-speed auto bolsters the Swift line-up just over six months after the third-generation model was released here and at a time when the light-car segment is intensifying with a host of new models.

The latter includes the just-launched Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio and the forthcoming Toyota Yaris, Holden Barina and Skoda Fabia – all due for release in the coming weeks and months. Hyundai has also just repositioned its i20 hatch range to cover for the discontinuation of the top-selling Getz.

Suzuki Australia communications manager Andrew Ellis told GoAuto this week that the GA auto was not available to the Australian subsidiary at launch in February – indeed, he said Australia is now one of the first markets to receive it worldwide – and that the company was confident the new variant would improve Swift sales to the tune of 150 units a month.

He said the GA five-speed manual currently accounted for just below 20 per cent of Swift sales, but that the auto should lift that to around 25 per cent. The auto/manual sales mix across the new Swift range is presently 60/40 in favour of the self-shifter.

30 center imageLeft: Other Suzuki Swift variants.

The 17,690 GA auto price point, which is $300 lower than the previous-generation entry-level Swift auto released in 2005, is all the more compelling when standard equipment including seven airbags, ESC, ABS brakes with EBD and brake assist, air-conditioning, electric windows/mirrors, remote central locking and a four-speaker radio/CD/MP3 stereo with USB port are all considered.

Suzuki Australia general manager Tony Devers described the Swift GA auto as “proof positive of Suzuki’s commitment to providing value-for-money motoring”.

All Swift models use a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 70kW of power and 130Nm of torque. In manual guise it returns combined-cycle fuel economy of 5.5L/100km, and CO2 emissions of 132g/km. The auto returns 6.2L/100km and 147g/km respectively.

The Swift is by far and away Suzuki’s biggest-selling vehicle and sales in Australia are running lineball year to date with 2010, despite the significantly better new-generation model. Suzuki has sold around 7150 Swifts YTD, handing it a top-five position with a 9.2 per cent share of the light-car segment.

Mr Ellis said the launch timing of the Japanese-built Swift meant a large batch were shipped here prior to Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in March, meaning Suzuki Australia largely avoided supply problems that followed the tragedy.

“We were strangled a little during June-July but are nearly back to full capacity now,” he said, acknowledging that the light segment was a “very competitive market right now”.

As GoAuto has reported, the range will be further bolstered early next year with the introduction of the Swift Sport, complete with a new 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine producing 100kW and 160Nm.

A 55kW/190Nm 1.3-litre turbo-diesel recently released in Europe is also under consideration for Australia.

Suzuki Swift pricing:
GA$15,990
GA (a) $17,690
GL $16,990
GL (a) $18,390
GLX $18,990
GLX (a)$20,690

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