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Suzuki Jimny won’t be reinvented
Japanese carmaker sets its product stall but the Jimny will evolve rather than revolutionise
Stephen Dobie
26 November 2014



We've already reported Suzuki's new product plan: six new models over the next three years, with the principle being there's both a sensible and a sporty choice in each of the segments Suzuki occupies.

One car is set to sit proudly outside of the product plan though. Step forward, Jimny. The plucky little off-roader is likened to the Land Rover Defender by Suzuki's UK sales chief Dale Wyatt, thanks to its go-anywhere ability and huge popularity with farmers, who typically only chop in their Jimny for another.

Good point, but it's also like the Defender in that it's really bloody old now. Introduced in 1998, the current generation (pictured) will be nearly two decades old by the time it's replaced in 2017. But given the car's cultish appeal, Suzuki isn't planning on revolution.

"The next Jimny will be an evolution", Wyatt told TG. "It will follow the same recipe. When you see it you'll know it's a Jimny.

"If you were a sheep farmer in the Scottish hills you'd see the car is perfect; no argument to change it."

That may be a niche audience, but it's a reliable one, Suzuki selling 1500 Jimnys in the UK each year despite the fact its price reliably rises with inflation. It achieves those sales with zero marketing, Wyatt is keen to point out.


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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
This obviously doesn't affect us here in the North American market, but it's still good to hear that the Jimny is continuing to win fans in other markets around the world.

Though it's a bit crude and a throwback to an earlier time, the Jimny has become a sort of icon in it's own right. In that regard, it's a bit like the original BJ/FJ Land Cruiser, Land Rover Discovery/Defender, and Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero. It's a shame that this vehicle hasn't found a home in other areas of the world. With fuel prices a concern for most consumers, a rugged and capable off-roader would be a boon to many customers who need something competent but don't want to pay a huge gas bill.

We obviously won't be able to purchase one in the US now that Suzuki has exited the market. But if GM is still on "good terms" with Suzuki (and if it can be federalized in light of more stringent fuel economy/crash-test standards), it might make a nice offering for GM customers in the US, Canada, and Mexico who miss the capability of Tracker/Samurai and find the Trax too bland or pedestrian. Granted, it won't sell in huge numbers compared to other offerings in Chevrolet's stable (just as Nissan sells many more Pathfinders and Muranos than it does Xterras), but it don't mean it won't find a home among customers who need something more adept for their daily needs.

2004 Chevrolet Tracker
 

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The part that I picked up on in nadepalma's post after the news item is this: "a rugged and capable off-roader would be a boon to many customers who need something competent but don't want a huge gas bill." Other than the fuel economy part, the only mfr. who seems to get it anymore is Jeep for real off-road capability.
 

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Pipe dreams. However, I was always smitten by the last gen Mitsubish Montero. I loved the looks and the interior was fairly upscale. I'd probably haved a used one if it didn't get true SUV gas mileage. I wonder how hard it would be to source current Pajero diesel engine for swap?


 

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The part that I picked up on in nadepalma's post after the news item is this: "a rugged and capable off-roader would be a boon to many customers who need something competent but don't want a huge gas bill." Other than the fuel economy part, the only mfr. who seems to get it anymore is Jeep for real off-road capability.

That is only for the Wrangler 1 entry that is truly off road if you want to go by numbers Toyota is the best mainstream true off-road provider with the 4runner TRD PRO, Tundra TRD PRO & Tacoma TRD Pro, plus the now defunct FJ Crusier!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
The part that I picked up on in nadepalma's post after the news item is this: "a rugged and capable off-roader would be a boon to many customers who need something competent but don't want a huge gas bill." Other than the fuel economy part, the only mfr. who seems to get it anymore is Jeep for real off-road capability.
As far as "affordable" off-road/capable products, I think this is true. Yes, the fuel economy on some of the Jeeps aren't the best, but certainly a number of their newer offerings are better than they were in the past. There were a few small, ladder framed vehicles that were offered in the recent past (the late 1990s Kia Sportage being one), but it's a segment that's just about disappeared. The Jimny seems to be one of the few remaining sold worldwide (at least that I'm aware of).
Pipe dreams. However, I was always smitten by the last gen Mitsubish Montero. I loved the looks and the interior was fairly upscale. I'd probably haved a used one if it didn't get true SUV gas mileage. I wonder how hard it would be to source current Pajero diesel engine for swap?


Probably beyond a pipe dream, but still a nice thought, if only to give consumers another choice in the market.

The last Montero was a nice offering. I remember renting one for a week while away on vacation. At the time, my folks had a contemporary Explorer and it was underwhelming compared to the Montero. I remember thinking the Montero wasn't just more capable and had a better ride, but had a much nicer interior (materials, fit n' finish, etc) than their Explorer.

Swapping out the previous generation's engine for a new Mitsu diesel is probably a project and a half. Still, if you have a reputable shop that can do the work for you, nothing is impossible (but the final tab would undoubtedly be expensive).
 

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My best buddy picked up an X90 this summer and really likes it. Too bad Suzuki NA went bankrupt and a replacement isn't available.

How about the upcoming Renegade?
 
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The part that I picked up on in nadepalma's post after the news item is this: "a rugged and capable off-roader would be a boon to many customers who need something competent but don't want a huge gas bill." Other than the fuel economy part, the only mfr. who seems to get it anymore is Jeep for real off-road capability.
Agree

Jeep does "get it", and look for the new Renegade to light a fire in the segment.

Other one to keep an eye on is the the Fiat 500X, which is Fiat's Renegade but more for on-road use with sporty looks over rugged image.

Best vehicle as a Jimny competitor is the Fiat Panda which sells quite well in Europe and will do the same in the U.S. when Fiat takes advantage of the Buzz the 500X and Renegade will generate. The Panda will do very well in Urban markets with just the right mix of "cute" and ability.

And it has a great name!
 

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My best buddy picked up an X90 this summer and really likes it. Too bad Suzuki NA went bankrupt and a replacement isn't available.

How about the upcoming Renegade?
Wow, I don't think I've thought of the X90 in a decade!

For me the Renegade is close in spirit to the Jimny; I just hope that it will be close in off-road useability.
 

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Looking at the Jimny, and other inexpensive European offered cars, I am surprised at the level of refinement, er lack of refinement, offered. The interiors appear to come from the 1990's.

Are the US's expectations and demands of its vehicles that they all be pseudo-luxury vehicles? Why cant an entry level inexpensive vehicle be offered with a basic interior? Would our media immediately condemn it? Would our government allow such a basic vehicle to be sold brand new?

Segment creep, luxury creep, and price creep has affected the entire US vehicle offering range.
 

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Looking at the Jimny, and other inexpensive European offered cars, I am surprised at the level of refinement, er lack of refinement, offered. The interiors appear to come from the 1990's.

Are the US's expectations and demands of its vehicles that they all be pseudo-luxury vehicles? Why cant an entry level inexpensive vehicle be offered with a basic interior? Would our media immediately condemn it? Would our government allow such a basic vehicle to be sold brand new?

Segment creep, luxury creep, and price creep has affected the entire US vehicle offering range.
I think a lot of it is to do with the COST of federalizing it to a STANDARD that is different for the sake of being different and NOT getting high enough ATP as a car like that most buyers would expect to pay 15K for where after the bills are paid I would assume they would have to be in the 22K range
I believe that was the "excuse" they used for NOT importing the swift that also gets global "cheers" and would have filled a neat niche in North America
 

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shame they were terminated too soon here in the US. my 89 geo tracker makes a great woods truck for under $1000. if i could have found a samurai, i would have been even happier
 
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Wow, I don't think I've thought of the X90 in a decade!

For me the Renegade is close in spirit to the Jimny; I just hope that it will be close in off-road useability.
It took him a while but he found a good one and really likes it





 
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