Suzuki bets on remodeled eco car to rev up sales in Thailand

BANGKOK, NNA - Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp. has launched a remodeled environmentally-friendly Swift hatchback in Thailand, aiming to increase its eco car sales to grab around a 20 percent share of the segment in Southeast Asia's second largest auto market.

Suzuki Motor (Thailand) Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese carmaker, said it expects to almost double sales of cars in the Swift series from 8,080 units last year to 15,700 this year with the first release of the third-generation All New Suzuki Swift model in the region.

Senior officials of the local unit foresee new car sales in Thailand this year growing 3.4 percent from 2017 to over 900,000 units while predicting the eco car segment will surge 15.2 percent to 180,000 vehicles.

The Thai subsidiary's eco car sales grew 13.4 percent to 21,300 units last year, grabbing a market share of 13.6 percent. It expects to keep up momentum for a further gain in 2018 on the back of the first release of a new Swift model in six years.

Two other eco car models -- the 1.25-liter Ciaz sedan and 1.0-liter Celerio hatchback -- sold 12,000 and 1,800 units last year, respectively.

The new Swift has a 1,200 cc engine, with prices ranging from 499,000 to 629,000 baht ($15,800 to $20,000), targeted at those aged 21 to 39.

The local unit produces the remodeled car at its plant in Rayong province, southeast of Bangkok, and is planning to export it from April to Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines. It forecast that 4,000 units will be exported in the first year.

Suzuki Motor has simultaneously released the same model in India, produced at a local plant. (NNA/Kyodo)