Several weeks ago, Suzuki Philippines launched the all-wheel-drive version of the Vitara called AllGrip. With that, the automaker now has a subcompact crossover aimed directly at the likes of the Subaru XV.
But wait, Suzuki still has the front-wheel-drive version available for the Philippine market, right? Sadly, that's not the case as the automaker has dropped it from the lineup. With that, the only available variant of the Vitara is the new all-wheel drive AllGrip model.
So why did Suzuki Philippines decided to do away with the FWD Vitara? Well, according to a Suzuki executive who wished anonymity, they had to move the Vitara to a different segment as it was facing stiff competition from other brands.
“Well, there are several factors but one is because of very stiff competition in the segment. As you know, the Vitara is competing with volume drivers of other brands like Geely, Toyota, and MG. So we decided to focus the product to another segment, similar to that of Jimny- hoping to get the same reception,” said the Suzuki executive.
With that, the Vitara now starts at PHP 1.458 million. For reference, the previous top-spec GLX variant retailed for PHP 1.158 million, making the new AWD version PHP 300,000 more expensive.
The all-new Vitara wasn't always this expensive. When it was first launched in late 2017, the fourth-generation Vitara had a starting price of PHP 938,000 and topped out at PHP 1,048,000. It came with plenty of features and amenities like touchscreen infotainment, LED headlights, leather interior, panoramic sunroof, cruise control, and a host of airbags.
But with the arrival of other crossovers like the Geely Coolray, MG ZS, Kia Stonic, Hyundai Kona, Volkswagen T-Cross, Toyota Corolla Cross, and even the Chery Tiggo 2/Tiggo5X, the Vitara was now faced with very stiff competition indeed.
Could Suzuki Philippines release another front-wheel-drive version of the Vitara in the future? It's highly unlikely given that the B-segment crossover market is now saturated with plenty of models. But instead of discontinuing the model outright, the automaker made the Vitara compete in another segment.
Let's see how Suzuki's decision to move the Vitara upmarket will help them rake in sales.