Suzuki PH quietly removes the Vitara from the local market
It looks like Suzuki Philippines has just thrown in the towel in the subcompact crossover class.
After quietly discontinuing its Vios challenger a few months ago, Suzuki Philippines has also axed its B-segment crossover: the Vitara. We made this discovery while browsing the Suzuki website and noticed that the Vitara AllGrip was no longer listed.
Curious, we asked a Suzuki executive to confirm the Vitara's fate. Our insider confirms that the crossover is no more. The reason is simple: it cannot be priced competitively.
Unlike many of its peers, the Vitara is actually imported from Europe; Hungary, to be specific. The disadvantage is that it doesn't benefit from free trade agreements, and toss in the rising costs of fuel (and subsequently, shipping) and the decision is a very logical one.
The sudden discontinuation still comes as a surprise since Suzuki actually launched an updated version last year called the Vitara AllGrip. While it still relatively looks the same as before, the AllGrip benefits from an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, as well as improved and upgraded features and amenities. Unfortunately, it sold for PHP 1.458 million which made it one of the most expensive B-segment crossovers.
This is a far cry from when the fourth-generation model was first revealed back in late 2017. During its initial launch, the Vitara started at just PHP 938,000. It was then followed by a facelifted version that was revealed in late 2019 which came with a starting price of PHP 1,038,000.
But with the arrival of more affordable crossovers from other brands, the Vitara struggled to keep up with models like the Geely Coolray, MG ZS, Kia Stonic, and even the Ford Territory. Does this mean Suzuki will no longer offer a crossover and just focus on compact sedans/hatchbacks?
There is a possibility, however, that Suzuki returns to the crossover market with an entirely new model. Enter the Vitara Brezza which was refreshed for the 2020 model year. Made by Maruti Suzuki for the Indian market, it's slightly smaller compared to the Vitara that we get but it's powered by the familiar 1.5-liter K15 engine that's seeing use in the Ertiga and XL7.
Since Suzuki Philippines is already sourcing the Celerio and Dzire from India, could they also source the Vitara Brezza from Maruti? Watch this space.