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Affordable electrification: Suzuki NVES plan

Suzuki Australia says petrol-electric will be crucial as it launches its first hybrid model

17 Jun 2024

SUZUKI Australia has just launched its first petrol-electric hybrid model, and there are plenty more to come. 

The brand plans to offer electrified versions of the Vitara, S-Cross and new Fronx, but powertrains and technology details for these models remain to be confirmed. 
However, it is most likely that all three will employ ‘mild hybrid’ tech – as is the case in the just-launched Swift Hybrid. 
For the Vitara and S-Cross, the likely offer is a 48-volt mild-hybrid system as is seen in other markets, while it is expected that the Fronx will run a 12-volt mild-hybrid similar to that of the Swift. 
Having ‘hybrid’ in the name will attract a different buyer to the brand and Suzuki Australia general manager Michael Pachota says the company must adapt to electrified offerings in light of the mandated New Vehicle Emissions Standard (NVES). 
“In the Australian market, I believe that hybrid has a very, very big space share of the Australian market,” he said. 
“I would envisage that within the next six to eight years we'll see 60 per cent of the total vehicle sales in Australia being hybrid.” 
That leaves brands like Toyota, Kia and Hyundai in good stead, as they offer an increasing proportion of electrified vehicles. But Suzuki is new to the scene, having only just introduced its first model – but at a budget price starting at $24,490 drive-away. 
Mr Pachota indicated that he understands the dual responsibility of recognising and reacting to cost-of-living pressures while complying with NVES, and that he expects Suzuki to be playing a stronger hybrid game from the first quarter of 2025. 
“That's based on the segments we compete in, versus the NVES requirements. We need to be hybrid,” he said.  
Mr Pachota also confirmed that a battery electric vehicle (BEV) announcement is imminent from the brand, another crucial puzzle piece for the future of its range in Australia. But he would not – or could not – say too much about it. 
“We're going to make an announcement in 2025 around EV introduction in Australia. I can't specify what the car is yet, and/or the segment it sits in,” he said. 
“With that said, the EV space is a tricky space, and we're watching right now as spectators almost, seeing what's happening in the market and hearing responses from different manufacturers around changes of plans they originally announced a couple of years ago, in regards to the ‘full EV future’. 
“Because you've got to build products that everyone wants. They're not going to sell – if no-one's going to want it, you're not going to build it. There's no place for it in the market. You've got to have the infrastructure in place for those products to be able to fit into the markets that are going to be offered in as well,” he said. 
The 12-volt mild-hybrid Swift Hybrid range starts at $24,490 drive-away for the base model manual, through to $29,490 drive-away for the top-spec Hybrid GLX. 

Suzuki Australia has seen a decent start to 2024, registering the sale of 8716 units compared with 7159 for the same period last year (an increase of 21.7 per cent).

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