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Suzuki makes Swift move to Thailand

Thai take-away: The popular Suzuki Swift has a new source and some new features.

Australia now sources Suzuki Swift from Thailand not Japan, but it’s no cheaper

10 Apr 2013

SUZUKI has shifted production of its most popular car, the Swift, from Japan to a sophisticated new facility in Thailand’s Rayong province.

But despite the move to a more cost-effective source – Thailand has lower labour costs and a free-trade agreement with Australia – Suzuki has found no room to cut the price.

Instead of trimming the bottom line, Suzuki has added extra features – at least to the mid-range GL and higher-specified GLX variants.

The GL gets cruise control and Bluetooth (in return for a $300 price increase to $16,990 plus on-road costs), while the $18,990 GLX gets cruise control.

Meanwhile the entry level GA variant gets no extra features, but like the GLX, keeps the same starting price as before ($15,990).

The shift to Thai sourcing has long been predicted – the new $250 million facility opened last year – and could potentially be the source of other future Suzuki models down the track.

Suzuki’s decision to send production away from its Japanese base comes at the same time as its home government continues to devalue the yen in order to make domestic manufacturing more viable against lower-cost countries in the Asia Pacific region.

But the move is part of a wider diversification strategy, with the company also producing vehicles in China, Indonesia, Hungary and India – the latter being the home of the Australian-market Alto.

Suzuki Automobile Australia general manager Tony Devers said the company’s local arm was impressed by the standards at the new plant.

“We’ve conducted several inspections of the plant and the product and come away extremely impressed by the quality,” he said.

“It’s indicative of Suzuki’s obsession with quality control. We have numerous global factories... and the vehicles are all made to the same standards, irrespective of where they are produced.”

Thailand was the second largest source of cars sold in Australia in 2012, behind Japan. 171,878 new vehicles sold here last year were Thai-made, more than South Korea and – most pertinently – more than the three home-grown local manufacturers managed.

The Thai Swift is now is in dealers now. The flagship $23,990 Swift Sport warm hatch will continue to be made in Japan.

2013 Suzuki Swift*
GA (a)$17,990
GL$16,990 (+$300)
GL (a)$18,990 (+$300)
GLX (a)$20,990
* Plus on-road costs

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