Ever since Suzuki wheeled out a ute-backed version of its box-fresh Jimny at the Tokyo Auto Salon earlier this month, the question of whether we’ll see a load-lugging production version of the Suzuki Jimny is looking like a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’.
“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 told WhichCar at the national launch of the new Suzuki Jimny.
“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!
“But at the same time, I put my hand up for it straight away when Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) said they would do something with it.”
But it’s not just Australians who want a utility-focused Jimny pick-up – according to Pachota, virtually all markets where Suzuki currently operates have expressed keen interest in such a model.
“Most countries have requested it from SMC. 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.
The idea of a five-door Jimny variant would be new ground for the nameplate, which has exclusively been a two- or three-door vehicle. However, the idea of a family of Jimny vehicles with three body styles – three-door and five-door wagon, plus a two-door utility – is an appealing one to Suzuki Australia.
“If the name starts with 'Jimny', we’ll sell it,” Pachota said. “A five-door would broaden the range of customers beyond just the thrill seekers, the adventure seekers and the young drivers who just want the cutest 4x4 on the block. It would really broaden our demographic.”
However, indications are that a pick-up utility would be the priority for Suzuki globally rather than a five-door wagon, which would likely require significant engineering to accommodate a proper second row of seats.
“I wouldn’t write [Jimny ute] off,” Pachota said. “They built that concept car to see people’s reactions, and I’m sure that they, like I have, have been inundated with requests to build one. I would be very confident that they would be considering it.”
"The five-door would be great as an added bonus, but once you develop a long-wheelbase platform, you’ve got both ends covered – it’s just about the shell."
The Suzuki Jimny launches in regular three-door form on January 26, and WhichCar will bring you full pricing and specifications on January 25 - along with our first local review.
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