The Unlikely but Plausible Way the Suzuki Jimny Could Come to the U.S.
The Suzuki Jimny is the little four-wheel-drive SUV that we absolutely love, and maybe even more than we really should. Writers and auto critics have gone wild about it, but by any unbiased analysis the little Jimny sales case – where he is likely carrying a high price in a niche segment – is marginal in this country. If sales warranted probate here, wouldn’t someone find a way to do it? Suzuki may have disappeared as a passenger vehicle seller in America, but surely there is a possibility of partnering with a company that remains in our market. Hey, wait a minute, there is!
Toyota owns a stake in Suzuki. A small one to be sure, but a real one. And with the introduction of the Ford Bronco and the subsequent elevation of the very expensive FJ Cruiser to the realm of a modern cult classic, perhaps there is room in the Toyota lineup for something small, d fun and off-road? Something that won’t work on the 4Runner, Highlander or RAV4 but just might fight the Bronco Sport? Let’s just put aside the financial soundness of the decision for a second, because there is white space in the Toyota lineup here, a space that he played recently with his FT-4X concept.
And look at this car here, the Suzuki Swace. It’s a Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, basically a Corolla Wagon, a bit longer than our Corolla Hatchback. It doesn’t matter what it is. What matters is that it’s a Toyota masquerading as a Suzuki in Europe. On the other end of the spectrum, Suzukis bearing the Toyota badge are sold in India. This means that the Swace is not a one-off thing, and any new Suzuki bearing the Toyota badge would likely raise no eyebrows within either company.
It might not make sense financially, but there is otherwise no good reason why the odd Suzuki Jimny theoretically cannot be sold here as a Toyota. We even have a perfectly fitting name for it: Toyota Blizzard. Back when the Suzuki Samurai was selling well in America, Toyota’s Daihatsu subsidiary was selling a small SUV there: the Rocky. It and the Daihatsu Charade subcompact sedan have been sales disasters despite being of better quality than many of their competitors. But the Daihatsu Rocky was also sold elsewhere as the Toyota Blizzard. It’s the perfect historic name for a reborn Toyota compact SUV.
Just because there’s a common thread here doesn’t mean Toyota’s likely to bring the Jimny to our shores. We understand that the approval of the Jimny for American consumption is not just a matter of crash-testing a few examples. It was never designed for this market in any critical aspect – it is underfed, too slow for American tastes, and impossible to pass the required crash test regulations as is. If this was just one of those hurdles, rather than several, maybe we’d write a confirming story covering the Jimny’s standard powertrain upgrade or additional crash-boosting. But the Jimny’s myriad of issues means that we would essentially need a heavily overhauled vehicle with new or heavily reworked chassis and bodywork and a different powertrain. This is serious money. We imagine that would catapult our imaginary Toyota Blizzard considerably out of an achievable price range.
Having said that, we can only hope that Toyota decides to give it a try. Perhaps the marketing value of a “viral” vehicle could make up for the losses, or perhaps a reciprocal agreement to sell more Jimny overseas through Toyota’s distribution network could recoup all the financial losses. in the USA. Look, we’re not saying it’s going to happen. We’re just saying there’s a chance.
The message The Suzuki Jimny’s unlikely but plausible way could come to the United States first appeared on MotorTrend.