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Beijing show: Suzuki spruiks Alivio sedan concept

Geared up: Cycling fans may find familiarity in the nameplate but Suzuki’s Alivio concept is certainly not pedal-powered.

Suzuki Oz keen for Alivio concept to morph into Corolla competitor Down Under


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23 Apr 2014

THIS subtle sedan from Suzuki could represent a rosy future for the Japanese brand’s Australian operation by filling a Corolla-sized gap in its line-up – if the model becomes available to this market.

Premiered at the Beijing motor show, the Alivio concept points to an upcoming SX4 sedan replacement, without the quirky jacked-up stance and related gravel road ability.

Initially, Suzuki’s priority is to get the small sedan established in the Chinese and Indian markets, for which the Alivio is primarily targeted.

The brand desires a repeat of its Indian success story – where it dominates with a 40 per cent market share – by mopping up middle-class customers in China.

But as soon as the production Alivio becomes available to world markets, Suzuki Australia will be elbowing its way to the front of the queue, according to local communications manager Andrew Ellis.

“We like the look of it, the size is right and the moment they say ‘are you interested’, we will be jumping at the opportunity,” he said. “We’d love to have it … obviously for this market it would be perfect, it definitely hits the sweet spot (in the popular small car segment).”

While the Suzuki S-Cross SUV replaces the SX4 hatch, the Alivio makes a more logical SX4 sedan replacement – the niche model was discontinued more than a year ago – as booted variants accounted for less than 15 per cent of SX4 sales.

Disappointing sales of the S-Cross have prompted two price cuts since the Dualis rival’s Australian launch in December and the smaller SX4 stablemate it is supposed to replace continues to share showroom space until stocks run out.

Taking the Authentics sedan concept from last year’s Shanghai show closer to its production conclusion, the Alivio will start rolling out of joint-venture Chongqing Changan Suzuki Automobile factories later this year.

Suzuki has blended styling cues from the S-Cross and Kizashi mid-sizer to create the Alivio, which has a domed, fairly tall roof-line like the SX4 sedan but an overall classier, if conservative look.

Power comes from a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine driving the front wheels through a newly developed lightweight six-speed automatic transmission.

At 4545mm long and 1730mm wide, the Alivio is 35mm shorter and 65mm narrower than the new Mazda3 sedan but 5mm taller at 1475mm.

Australian Suzuki sales to the end of March are 39.1 per cent down on last year, with only the APV small van showing a volume increase.

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