Okay, so I wrote back then about how Suzuki is the champion of rational thinkers. Now people might expect that I’m changing my mind about the matter because I don’t… However, I have this irk to settle about Suzuki Indonesia and why they kill a perfect little car called the Swift.
Suzuki products are widely known for its class leading equipments. For example here in Indonesia, the Swift WAS a product of choice for cars under US$16K with airbag+ABS+EBD+onboard computer+audio controller on steering wheel. Other cars barely reach Suzuki Swift’s equipments even as an option. The trend continues with SX-4 here in Indonesia, at just roughly US$17K, you get all of the above but with a bigger chassis and everything. But recently, Suzuki chopped off the options on Swift to the bare minimum. The car now has nothing but priced at mind boggling US$14K, down around US$3K with the negation of the options.
Now it is understandable to make the Swift as bare as it is to reduce price. But Suzuki Indonesia does not offer Swift with the extra options anymore, just the bare minimum… Now what the hell with that? From what I heard and read at many automotive forums and mailing list, Suzuki does this to push sales because the car is not selling well compared to Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris. D’oh! Off course it is, Swift is a small car compared to those two. It is not a family car per se, it is more of a coupe with extra doors at the back. Rather than just pushing for bigger sales, Suzuki can use the Swift as a stepping stones for people who wants to buy bigger Suzuki cars in the future. After all, what sellers wants from their customer is their retainership and loyalty.
Instead, Suzuki Indonesia degrade the class of Swift into that of a cheap entry level car and those who wants to buy the full optioned Suzuki cars must buy Grand Vitara or SX-4. Now where’s the logic on that? The exclusion of models with full factory options are caused by Suzuki decision to localized the production of Swift, because before the Swift was exclusively imported from Japan. Now with the localization of the Swift, Suzuki deletes the option altogether. Suzuki can still import Swift with full options, even for just a handfull because there will always be a market for high end products. Is Suzuki worried that Swift will overlap SX-4 sales? I don’t think so, because the SX-4 is already a bigger car, even though it is derived from Swift chassis.
One thing I can notice about Suzuki Indonesia decision is just because they want to save as much money as possible. By making all Swift as one standard model, they can achieve economy of scale far easier and they don’t have to incur inventory cost by keeping a separate line of cars. The thing is importing a car are full of hassle, first there’s the administration fiasco between Suzuki Indonesia and Suzuki Japan, that’s for sure. Then there’s the hazard of importing a car from far away land physically (well, you won’t know what happened to the car on its way here), not to mention the time and cost it took to ship cars from overseas.
I wholeheartedly understand why Suzuki want to “degrade” the caste of Swift. After all by doing this Suzuki now has a complete line of products ranging from the affordable entry level Karimun Estillo, to the not so expensive neutered Swift, to the rightly priced all terrain SX-4, the coming soon SX-4 sedan, and to the top of the line Grand Vitara. All products ranging from US$10K to US$25K.
Now my decision of buying a Swift has been decimated to the lot… I do feel sad because the car was the best choice for a full optioned car under the price of US$15K. It seems the curse of Honda rears its head again, probably I will buy the all new Honda Fit/Jazz, a not so bad model. I wanted to buy SX-4 though but kind of afraid Suzuki Indonesia is going to pull the same trick with neutering the SX-4 as it did with the Swift. If I bought the fully optioned Swift back then, probably I will feel alienated by Suzuki Indonesia decision to neuter all existing Swift. Because after all, how can I brag and persuade people to use the Swift if the existing Swift is not exactly the same product I used? Don’t start about the exclusion of Airbag and ABS doesn’t bring about different driving experience, it does, wait until you gotten into a situation when those things safe your life… I had.