With the US being the second-largest vehicle market in the world you would think we would get every kind of SUV. But no, we don’t. A case in point is the S-Cross SUV, also known as the SX4. The S-Cross is an SUV crossover made by Suzuki. We know that Suzuki flew the coop in 2012, blowing out of the US seemingly forever. But Fiat shared development of the previous generation with Suzuki and is still here, for the time being. Why can’t Fiat rebadge it and bring the S-Cross here?
It could add a model to the evaporating line of Fiats in the US. What does Fiat even make anymore now that it killed the 500? Not that the world needs another compact SUV but Fiat does. This could be it.
The timing was everything for Suzuki in the US
For the S-Cross timing was everything. While Suzuki was getting ready to launch it for 2013 Suzuki was bailing from the US. So, Europe and Japan got it in late-2013. It has since found markets in Mexico and Brazil and in 2015 was launched in India. There it is called the Maruti S-Cross.
In 2017 the S-Cross got a facelift and an engine change. From the 1.6-liter four-cylinder, Suzuki went with the torquier 1.4-liter “Boosterjet” turbo-four. With that came a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard front-wheel-drive could also be swapped for the all-wheel-drive system called “AllGrip.”
When the S-Cross debuted in India, 2017, it was only available as a hybrid with a 1.3-liter turbodiesel and five-speed manual transmission. It continues in production today.
We wish that Suzuki continued to sell vehicles in the US
It’s too bad Suzuki doesn’t sell vehicles here anymore. Its sales peaked in 2007 selling about 102,000 vehicles. By 2012 it had fallen to about 40,000. It becomes a vicious domino effect. When the sales start tanking dealers fold, the company has less money, debt rises, and everyone who is in the market for a new car forgets.
Suzuki is a small vehicle manufacturer. Some of its products are very small. When GM owned part of Suzuki it could fill in with vehicles from its broad range of products. A rebadged Daewoo or Isuzu could give Suzuki a happy, shiny spectrum of cheery choices.
It’s easier and cheaper to develop motorcycles and small vehicles. The larger stuff costs. So without partners, it’s just not cost-effective for Suzuki to develop a larger sedan or SUV for the US. It’s a sad but true circumstance.
The graveyard of small cars in the US is vast
Remember at one time, besides Suzuki, the US saw small vehicles from Daewoo, Daihatsu, Geo, and Isuzu. Even now, we may see Mitsubishi head for home as its numbers dwindle and it becomes a manufacturer buyers forget is still selling stuff here.
And don’t forget Scion. Even with the comfort of mothership, Toyota is was not able to break into the US market. The Saturn division never made a dime for GM the entire time it existed. The market for vehicles-especially small ones is fierce.
The final blow to Suzuki was Kia and Hyundai. When their small cars with fantastic warranties caught the attention of buyers in the US, it was game-over for Suzuki. The Korean zeitgeist was too much for Suzuki to weather.