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Auto Show:  2012 Geneva Auto Show

Suzuki Preview: Geneva Auto Show

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author photo by Nick Palermo February 2012
  • G70 is a lightweight and aerodynamic 4-door city car
  • Swift Range Extender combines plug-in electric and gasoline power

Japanese manufacturer Suzuki may be best known for building some of the fastest motorcycles around, but their automotive division leans more toward efficiency, not performance. The company plans to bring two vehicles to the Geneva Auto Show next month. Both emphasize efficiency, albeit with differing strategies. The G70 takes advantage of low weight and highly aerodynamic bodywork to maximize miles per gallon. The Swift Range Extender instead uses plug-in capability, electric propulsion and a gasoline-powered generator to provide not just efficiency but zero-emission operation.

The G70 appeared as a concept called Regina at last year's Tokyo Auto Show. With distinctive retro-modern styling reminiscent of vintage a Citroen, the Regina sports partial fender skirts on the rear wheels, tiny side mirrors and aero wheels for a drag coefficient that Suzuki claims is 10% better than its current A-segment vehicle. The four-door G70 will likely include such slippery enhancements and, with a weight of just over 1,600 lbs, should return excellent fuel economy and low emissions.

A vehicle like the Swift Range Extender made a previous appearance, too, also at Tokyo in 2011. The Swift EV Hybrid was just a concept at that show, but the vehicle now called the Swift Range Extender points to a future production model. Blurring the lines between hybrid and EV, the electric-propulsion Swift Range Extender includes plug-in capability and a lithium-ion battery pack for zero-emissions, electric-only range of approximately 18 miles. A gasoline-powered generator can then recharge the batteries to provide the energy for greater range. The Swift Range Extender is based on the current production Swift model.

At Tokyo, we predicted that the electrified Swift was a likely production model, a forecast that now appears even more certain. However, we called the Regina concept unlikely to make it to production. Suzuki's inclusion of the G70 at the Geneva Show suggests that this uniquely styled city car may in fact eventually arrive in showrooms.

What it means to you: The focus is on efficiency for Suzuki. The company will bring two small and efficient machines to the Geneva Auto Show, both moving one step closer to production.

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