Compact-car expert Suzuki Philippines joins the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) for the first time and teases a new Dzire sedan that leaves its Swift roots behind and now features an economical auto-shifting gearbox.
Seeking to keep up their strong showing in 2017, CAMPI member Suzuki Philippines joins the popular annual MIAS tradeshow that’s now running at the World Trade Center until Sunday, April 8. On exhibit, along with their Ertiga MPV and Ciaz compact sedan mainstay bestsellers, are their all-new Vitara crossover SUV and next generation Dzire sub-compact sedan. Just now being previewed and still to be introduced formally this year, the third-generation Dzire represents a subtle yet major departure from the current model short sedan.
Still a sub-4 meter notchback sedan (so configured to fit a popular tax niche in India where the Dzire was originally developed by the Maruti-Suzuki partnership) this new model is now based on the HEARTECH platform of their sub-compact Baleno hatchback. This, in contrast to the current, second-generation Dzire that was developed off the underpinnings of the sporty Swift hatchback.
The new, 2017 model-year Dzire looks more of a sedan, despite that notch of a trunk, with her proportions being stretched and hunkered down onto a svelte torso. And, this evolution in platform from the Swift’s sporty form to the Baleno’s filled out family-friendly layout is matched with a sensible engineering change in the drivetrain.
To replace the current Dzire’s auto-shifting feature on the top-end GL variant is the new model’s Auto Gear Shift (AGS) system, a.k.a. an Automatic Manual Transmission (AMT). Actually less sophisticated than the 4-speed conventional automatic gearbox of the previous Dzire model, this AMT variant basically takes the Dzire’s manual transmission variant and removes the manual clutch pedal and mechanical stick shift, replacing these with an electro-mechanical Magneti Marelli auto-shifting module.
When using full auto mode, the driver delegates clutch- and stick-work to the algorithms and solenoids of Magneti Marelli robotics. In manual mode, the driver takes control of the shifts (or, at least, requests these from the module) while still leaving the automatics in charge of the clutch-work. (The setup takes some getting used to, is closer in feel to a manual transmission rather than an automatic. To understand the dynamics of such a set up, see our review of the BYD F-0 AMT.)
Undeniably, an AMT is less sophisticated than a conventional 4-speed AT with its planetary gears and hyrdraulic torque converter. The good news is that this is reflected in the sticker price of the new Dzire. Where the current Dzire GL with 4-speed AT lists at P718k, the next-gen model with its AMT auto-shifting variant will have an SRP that’s under P700k, reportedly.
<SOURCE> Press Statement by Suzuki Philippines, “Suzuki Philippines joins the Manila International Auto Show 2018,” 2018:
Manila, Philippines (April 6, 2018) – Suzuki Philippines (SPH), the country’s pioneer compact car distributor, marks a new milestone as it joins the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS) for the first time last April 5 at the World Trade Center, Pasay City.
MIAS, the country’s biggest annual motoring event, serves as an avenue for showcasing the latest automotive, bicycle, rickshaw and spare parts from various brands. The show is known for hosting exhibits, activities and product reveals of the local auto industry’s leading players.
According to SPH Vice President and General Manager for Automobile Shuzo Hoshikura, the four-day event opens opportunities for SPH to further its goal of strengthening the brand’s foothold in the country.
“We want to build on the momentum we achieved early this year. While our expansion and sales efforts prove to be effective, we remain active in looking for platforms that can help us broaden the reach of the Suzuki brand in the country, and joining MIAS showed promising potential to fulfil that objective,” shared Hoshikura.
To celebrate SPH’s inaugural participation in MIAS, the brand displayed its award-winning and best-selling vehicles such as the all-new Vitara, 2017 CAGI Car of the Year awardee under the Subcompact Crossover Category; Ciaz, Best Fuel Economy Rate awardee of the DOE Eco Run 2017 and Best Personal Commuter awardee of the 12th C! Magazine Awards; and Ertiga, Suzuki’s popular life utility vehicle. The Suzuki Hayabusa from the Motorcycle Division and Suzuki outboards from the Marine Division were also showcased to present the brand’s other product lines.
SPH also provided a preview of the soon-to-launch Suzuki Dzire with Auto Gear Shift technology upgrade. Designed to deliver better engine performance and smoother driving, the enhanced sedan enables versatility through the combined fuel efficiency of manual gearbox and convenience of automatic transmission. It also sports an elegant look that’s perfect for millennials and Gen Z.
“It would be a waste if we did not seize the chance for the public to witness the newest in our product lineup. Although the official launch is still later this year, we opted to display the new Suzuki Dzire to show everyone that we indeed stay true to the promise of bringing the latest of our technological innovations to the Filipino people,” added Hoshikura.
Ertiga influencer Kelly Misa and Vitara influencer Mikael Daez were present during SPH’s program on the first day of the show. They were joined by the Suzuki Safety Scouts, the kiddie ambassadors of the Suzuki brand, who invited other young attendees to be part of their troop that promotes Suzuki’s road safety advocacy.
Hoshikura emphasized that beyond extending to the Filipino market its latest product upgrades and quality service, Suzuki is committed to the duty of contributing to achieving a safe and secure environment for everyone.
“The customers have always been at the core of all our pursuits. Fueling our passion of providing only the best-value vehicles is the vision of creating a responsible driving community because a good lifestyle is not just about style but also, and more importantly, life or quality of life, and such is the Suzuki Way of Life,” said Hoshikura.