Ed Norman, Suzuki UK product manager, spoke to AM about the new Suzuki Ignis:
There has been lots of talk of the Ignis creating a ‘new segment’, what do you see as the key rivals?
I’d rather downplay talk of the car creating a new segment, it sets expectations and leads people down a route of perhaps not understanding the car.
For me, it is a car that will appeal to people looking at vehicles in the A-segment that deliver a little bit more than the average contender, cars like the Citroën DS 3, Fiat 500 and Renault Twingo.
Sub-30-somethings are our key target market. We already have the Swift Sport, which occupies a similar area, but the Ignis should attract a high proportion of conquest customers.
Suzuki registered 38,167 vehicles in the UK in 2016. How will the Ignis boost Suzuki’s UK sales?
The big change next year will be the introduction of Ignis and our target for Ignis sales is around 6,000 cars a year, which would represent another step up in volume.
Which Ignis do you expect to be the ‘big seller’?
The mid-range SZ-T should be the biggest seller. It has all the appearance of a top-of-the-range car, with the larger alloy wheels, roof rails and running daylights. But the Vitara S is the most expensive car we produce and accounts for 25% of sales, so we are open to surprises.
Where else might Suzuki target growth in 2017?
Motability and contract hire and leasing. At the moment, we have around 1% market share and are 27th in the biggest car brands in the UK. Think about Suzuki in terms of purely private sales, though, and we move up to 17th, with a market share of around 2.7%. That’s something that we are very proud of, but also shows the potential of a greater emphasis on new areas of business.
Did Suzuki dealers make a profit in 2016?
Our dealers have performed very well. We have a network to be proud of, with good levels of trust and customer loyalty. That has translated into good profits. In terms of return on sale, I believe only Ferrari compares in percentage terms. Our network returns an average of 2.1% RoS and our solus dealers stand at 3.1%. It’s something we’re proud of, and rightly so.