Before anything else, we'd just like to say that there is nothing definitive about this. But here it goes anyway.
A few days ago, we were speaking with a senior executive of Suzuki Philippines. Naturally, the topic ventured towards the company's (and the brand's) runaway success: the new generation Jimny.
When Suzuki launched the model, they racked up a lot of firm orders for the model worldwide. In the local Philippine setting, if you ordered a base model Jimny manual today, you'll wait about 3 months to get one. If you ordered a midrange Jimny automatic, you're looking at a 6 to 8 month waiting period. If you want the top-of-the-line Jimny GLX automatic, you will get to drive it in December... of 2020.
According to the Suzuki Philippines executive, supplies are trickling in and customers who placed reservations are willing to wait up to a year... all 1500 of them. In Poland, the problem is a bit more significant; while they only have 600 orders, they'll only get 150 units per year. That means 4 years to fill all those orders, so we're told.
Of course the supply problem is a global one as only one Suzuki factory in Japan makes the Jimny, and interestingly the product planners (or production planners?) were so conservative that they didn't anticipate the popularity of the model. As such, the production of the factory in Japan will be all that customers will have to rely on for now until they can ramp it up or assemble in other factories in the region or the world.
But onto our topic. Speaking with the same executive, it may be possible that the company is evaluating the prospects of having a 5-door version of the Jimny. During the course of our conversation over dinner last night, he posed a question to us.
“How much do you think we should sell a 5-door version of the Jimny?”
Now that question actually came out of nowhere. We weren't prodding about a 5-door Jimny, but somehow our conversation revolved around the potential pricing of such a “hypothetical” model. There were no other details leaked, but if it was somehow made into reality, the executive says that it would be a long-wheelbase variant.
We're not saying they're definitely working on it now; if they were, they won't tell us. Japanese companies are very secretive about what they're working on, and spy photos of Japanese automobiles in development are very rare. But if we were to look at how markets are very receptive to the Jimny 3-door, it stands to reason that Suzuki may be evaluating if a 5-door (or 4 side doors) could be successful.
Suzuki actually has a history of making SUVs that had either 3- or 5-doors. Over three generations since 1988, Suzuki sold the Vitara in both 3-door and 5-door models, prior to the current fourth generation front-wheel drive crossover model that our market gets from Hungary. The third generation Vitara is actually still in production in some parts of the world; mostly in the Middle East, Africa, and South America.
What we settled on in our conversation is that if Suzuki had a 5-door Jimny, it could possibly be very successful in the Philippines if they sold it for around PhP 1.3 million to about PhP 1.5 million.
But hey, don't take our word for it. Chime in below if you think Suzuki should seriously consider (or if they have plans already, push it through) a 5-door version of the very popular Jimny.