- Suzuki anticipating sales growth as supply shortages clear up
- Last year’s iV-4 compact SUV confirmed for early 2015 Australian launch
Suzuki Australia says it has come through the other side of a major supply shortage for its popular Swift and new S-Cross, returning to normal stock levels this month for the first time all year.
Local boss Tony Devers said today that the shortage was a “significant factor” in the company’s sales slide this year, down to 3963 at the end of March from 5823 for the same period in 2013.
Much of the deficit was in sales of the Swift, which went from being Australia’s best-selling light car in November last year (and second-best in December behind the i20) to the 5th best performer in its segment at the end of March.
Mr Devers said he believes that, along with supply issues for the new Hungarian-built S-Cross, the shipping shortages “have cost us upwards of 1800 combined sales”.
He said that with the pipeline restored and supply back in full swing - including an all-Japan schedule for the Swift - the company will embark on an aggressive advertising campaign to regain lost ground.
The iV-4 - which is expected to get a new name before production and could revive the standalone 'Vitara' name - was revealed in concept form at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, previewing a new compact crossover for Suzuki.
The production version of the iV-4 will be unveiled later this year, likely at the Paris Motor Show in October.
Mr Devers acknowledged that the rejuvenation of Suzuki’s global line-up has been a slow process, but promised that a flood of new models is on the way.
“It is evident that Suzuki Motor Company took a very conservative approach throughout the GFC, however, the R&D investment is now fully deployed and exciting new product is guaranteed for the short and mid-term,” Mr Devers said.
“Indeed, we will have at least one new Suzuki model every year for the next five years.”
We can likely expect a replacement for the now nine year-old Grand Vitara range to be among those new models, although the company has yet to hint at plans on that front.
Mr Devers also dismissed reports that the company has twice cut the price of the new S-Cross in response to slow sales.
"We launched the car at $23,990 drive away for the GL. That was to cover the initial shipment, which was not as big as we would have liked," Mr Devers said, referring to supply constraints out of Hungary.
"Last month we moved that price to $22,990, which was always our intended price point when we had sufficient stock."
But, playing in a hotly contested market segment led comfortably by the Hyundai ix35 (1508 sales in March) and the Subaru XV (1328), it remains to be seen if the S-Cross can make a significant improvement on its 149 March sales.
Watch this space.