Yuta Takahashi, Suzuki: “We will begin to discuss with engineers the adaptation of Ignis for Russia”
We are talking about the 10-year warranty on Vitara, the disappointing results of the new Jimny in Euro NCAP, the prospects of Suzuki Crossby and Lapin in the Russian market and the supply of the Futur-S crossover to Russia from India with the general director of Suzuki Rus.Sergey Arbuzov: The fourth generation Suzuki Jimny passed certification on the Russian market – that is, it received vehicle type approval (OTTS) on December 6 last year. Why is the car still not represented by dealers, why are pre-orders not open, why are there no prices? Actually, OTTS has a limited duration, therefore such delays are actually losses.
Yuta Takahashi: Receiving an OTTS does not mean an automatic start of sales: first we must understand that the favorable moment has come, that the market is ready and favors us. In addition, we will have two new items in Russia this year: the updated Vitara and Jimny, and we will not launch them at the same time.
SA.: Since Vitara is the undisputed sales leader among the three available Suzuki models in Russia, let me assume that you start it first.
Yu.T .: Yes, that’s right.
SA.: You correctly noted that the presence of an OTTS does not mean a start of sales: for various reasons, many companies do not release certified machines to our market, wasting money. Can you confirm that at the moment the decision to launch the fourth generation Suzuki Jimny in Russia has been finally made this year?
Yu.T .: I hope that the new Jimny will not suffer such a fate – this is a very important model for us. We have already placed an order for production and we hope to receive the machines in the near future. Jimny is important to us as an element of the brand’s off-road image. Incidentally, in Europe, the car is also not sold in all countries.
SA.: I noticed that only one modification with a 1.5-liter atmospheric engine is presented in the OTTS. Do you think that the version with a small turbo engine has no prospects in Russia? It could help reduce the starting price, because it is this modification in Japan – the base.
Yu.T .: And nothing bothers us to clarify with the headquarters the possibility of certifying turbover versions, although there are really no plans to launch it, if only because the aspirated engine with the change of generations has become more powerful.
This is the Jimny version for the Japanese market, which, being equipped with a tiny turbo engine in 658 “cubes” falls on the home market in the category of “key car”. It has less width and length than the “normal” version. This is the Jimny version for the Japanese market, which, being equipped with a tiny turbo engine in 658 “cubes”, falls into the “kei-car” category on the home market. It has less width and length than the “normal” version.
SA.: Why am I asking about the turbo version: even for it the base price of the new Jimny in Japan is almost 1.5 million yen – it turns out that in Russia the new Jimny will cost at least 1.4 million rubles, taking into account rate, import duties and other expenses. For this money, we can buy a compact crossover, and even all-wheel drive. Do you think Jimny will lose its Russian buyers?
Yu.T .: And we have not yet decided on prices – after all, there is still some time to launch. In any case, with the new Jimny, we just want to attract new customers, so we cannot be mistaken with the price – it is extremely important for us to properly think about price positioning.
SA.: Well, it just seems to me that the new Jimny will not acquire customers, but lose: it will be more expensive, while remaining very archaic: a 4-speed automatic, a simple engine, a part-time drive. Do you think that such an approach narrows the target audience of the brand?
Yu.T .: No, I do not agree with you. In Europe and Japan, he just attracted a different target audience. By the way, in Japan, the waiting time is one year!
S.А .: Yes, yes, I recently checked with the statistics: Jimny, according to the results of 2018, is really a big increase in Japan (+ 55%), but this is not the focus. Firstly, the novelty effect plays a role, and secondly, almost all the demand comes from the version I mentioned with the turbo engine, which in the home market goes into the category of keycars. So it is unlikely that this argument can be considered wealthy.
Yu.T .: So it is clear – in Russia and Japan, buyers are different, we have popular K-cars, but here Jimny is needed with a normal engine of 1.5 liters. We are sure that in its new incarnation the car will be in high demand in Russia.
SA.: Frankly, I don’t see any prerequisites for this: the new Jimny is good as a fan mobile, but we don’t sell such cars, especially in the form of SUVs, we sell utilitarian practical off-road vehicles and crossovers, and 1.4 million rubles can, I repeat, buy a comfortable all-wheel drive crossover. What are the competitive advantages of the new Jimny in the Russian market?
Yu.T .: And I am not saying that it will be easy for us to promote Jimny in Russia, this is a difficult and important task. This is our main challenge this year – we will work!