The Suzuki Jimny seems to be on everybody’s mind. Subcompact SUVs have skyrocketed to popularity recently. Could a Toyota rebrand be the unlikely way that the Suzuki Jimny finds Its way to the U.S. market? MotorTrend explored the idea and why it could make financial sense.
Suzuki and Toyota’s long history rebadging each other’s vehicles
Toyota has partnered with Suzuki to bring vehicles to new markets before. Firstly, a Toyota badged Ertiga is sold in India. Subsequently, a Toyota Corolla wagon hit the streets of Europe as the Suzuki Swace. Both makers have leveraged this alliance to remain competitive in today’s automotive markets.
Toyota sold another rebranded compact SUV. First sold as the Daihatsu Rocky, the Toyota Blizzard was meant exclusively for the Japanese Market. There are fewer than a dozen Toyota Blizzards in North America today. The name would be a fitting tribute to a rebranded Suzuki compact SUV.
The Blizzard would face a few challenges
Reviewers of this compact off-road legend have shared a common sentiment. It seems many wish Suzuki to offer the Jimny on the US market. The subcompact SUV would face several challenges in the United States.
The Suzuki Jimny is rugged and reliable off-road. On pavement, its performance isn’t as stellar. Car and Driver called the Jimmy’s on-road handling “sloppy.” At highway speeds, the Jimny has even more performance Issues.
The subcompact may struggle on American highways with higher speed limits. A takes the Jimny nearly 12 seconds to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour. Jimny’s short gearing transmission can be uncomfortable to drive at highway speeds. This SUV is simply too slow and underpowered for the US market.
The Jimny would also struggle to meet U.S. safety standards. It would be nearly impossible for the tiny car to pass crash testing regulations in its current iteration. A rebadged Toyota would require extensive alterations to its frame and the addition of many safety features.
Leveraging the Jimny’s viral fame
Critics and drivers alike can’t stop talking about the Suzuki Jimny. The vehicle was first produced from 1970 to 1981 and gained a loyal fan base. Several markets outside the U.S. offer a 2020 model.
The subcompact as a rebranded Toyota would be costly. It’s possible that Jimny’s viral popularity could mean big sales to balance out the expense. Demand for the Jimny could trigger markups which would allow Toyota to expand its profit margins.
The Blizzard may be a long shot
This line of reasoning may be logical; however, the profit margin for a rebranded Jimny might be too narrow. The cost to redesign this vehicle for the US would be considerable. It’s unlikely, but this hypothetical rebrand could potentially be lucrative if executed carefully. There is no plan to rebrand the Jimny for U.S. sale at this time. U.S. drivers will have to settle for an alternative subcompact SUV.