Rumours of new bodystyles for Suzuki’s ridiculously charming Jimny have existed since before that car even launched, but besides a few hand-made one-offs there’s been no real deviation from the factory-issue three-door wagon format.
Until now. Suzuki New Zealand has revealed it will be offering a tray-toting Suzuki Jimny as a locally-converted option, costing an additional NZ$12,000 on top of the NZ$25,990 retail price of the entry-model Jimny JX manual that it’s based upon.
Those of you yearning for a return of the Suzuki Stockman, your prayers have been answered – albeit at considerable cost. The total bill equates to $37,560 in Aussie dollars, which is a fair whack for such a tiny ute. A single-cab Nissan Navara would cost you less and give you more.
The conversion does at least look neat. Cleaving off the rear of the cabin at the B-pillar, Suzuki NZ then encloses what remains of the interior with a steel rear bulkhead and a glass window, carpeting the inside and leaving a small shelf for bags and tools. An alloy tray is then bolted to the Jimny’s ladder frame, and sports drop-down sides and a beefy looking hoop up front, along with integrated side steps, tie-downs and mudguards.
It’s extraordinarily cool, and should appeal hugely to the off-roader crowd just as much as the farmers it’s actually intended for.
Should Suzuki Australia consider a similar thing? It might not be quite so viable at the Kiwi car’s price point, but with Suzuki Japan having already tested the waters with a ute-ified Jimny show car at last year’s Tokyo Auto Salon there may already be a factory-issued Jimny load lugger in the pipeline.
We asked Suzuki’s local boss whether there was demand for such a vehicle, and the response was an emphatic – and loud – “yes!”.
“I’ve been inundated with questions, not only from customers but from dealers as well – ‘we want it, let’s do it!’”, Suzuki Australia general manager Michael Pachota said to WhichCar.
“The agricultural side of Australia [has a] need for a small off-road vehicle as capable as this with a ute tray. The demand is definitely there. Our dealer network is screaming for it, so when they saw that [concept] it created a few problems for me!
“Most countries have requested it from Suzuki Motor Co. We have a global distributor’s conference every six months, and at the last conference we all voiced our need for a ute-back [Jimny], as well as a five-door," he said.
Do you think we could eventually see a factory-produced Jimny ute Down Under?