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Mike Stevens | Aug 5, 2009

THE SUZUKI ALTO ultramini was launched locally only three weeks ago, but now Suzuki Australia is turning its eyes towards Europe and India where the Splash hatch is making waves in both markets.

Built on a shortened version of the Suzuki Swift's platform, the Splash, depending on the market, is offered with a 1.0 litre inline three cylinder petrol engine, a 1.2 litre inline four, and a 1.3 litre diesel inline four.

Suzuki Australia Communications Manager Andrew Ellis confirmed to TMR today that the Splash is under consideration for the Australian market.

Depending on market conditions, supply and suitability, the Splash could arrive in Australia in the next couple of years.

The Splash, introduced in 2008, is a joint development between Suzuki and Opel, which also markets the car in Europe as the Opel Agila.

Only slightly larger than the Alto - with which it shares the 1.0 litre three-cylinder engine - the front-wheel-drive Splash rides on a wheelbase 30mm shorter than the Swift. Despite this, the Splash is 20mm longer than the Swift overall.

"When we first started looking at a sub-light car, one of the options was the Splash, but coming from Hungary, the expense was an issue," Mr Ellis said.

The global sub-light car - the Alto - made more economic sense, coming from India, especially from a transport point of view.

Mr Ellis pointed to Europe's scrappage schemes and trade-in bonuses - a system Suzuki has been calling for in Australia - as a contributor to the success of the Splash in the European market.

"The Splash is in huge demand in Europe, with the scrappage schemes in place, the Splash is proving to be a very popular car. We'd like to have it in Australia, but the price has to be right and it has to slot into the local line-up appropriately."

2009_suzuki_splash_04

Mr Ellis remained tight-lipped on the question of price and timing, but said that getting the Splash into Australia is a priority.

"We don't want to put a timeframe on its arrival in Australia. It's a car we think can work locally, and now it's a case of looking at it, doing the sums and asking the questions."

"The Splash is pitched as a small family car, larger than the Alto but a little smaller than the Swift. And as far as price goes, the idea is that no matter what price you're looking at, we would have something for the customer."

In the meantime Suzuki Australia will be kept busy with 2010 launch of the Kizashi sedan and the new sixth-generation Swift hatch.

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