To start with, I don’t get that feeling from Suzuki that they have this passion for making cars and bikes. Well, business is apparent, but being a brand that’s close to the hearts of almost the majority of the 1.38 billion people and having their trust for more than 25 years, it doesn’t seem fair. Let me break it down for you.
When a middle-class Indian family plans to buy a new car, the first choice that comes to their mind is a Suzuki. It’s like a convention for the people. Before the advancement of Suzuki in India, all you could have was the Premier Padmini or the Hindustan Ambassador – they were the most obvious choice. Initially, they were fun, but with the rise of Suzuki, people got a taste of fuel efficiency and superiority in every other way. Apart from the goodness of fuel efficiency, they were compact, modern and cheaper.
With this, Suzuki cultivated a community that, well, how do I put this? Worshipped them? I guess you can say that. But after a while, it’s as if they started taking everything for granted. Suzuki has had loyal customers for more than two decades, and what do they provide the customers with – moving coffins? To put it bluntly, they do make coffins these days. The best example I can give is Suzuki’s utterly stupid-looking car, the S-Presso.
The S-Presso was launched in India in 2019 as a “micro SUV”. And I’ve been in one, and I can tell you the seating position is like being inside a proper SUV mainly because of its dimensions. And that’s it. That’s all there’s to talk about that car apart from that tiny infotainment display you get on the top end, which again is like throwing dirt on the customer’s eye. The S-Presso offers safety features like standard airbags, but as I said earlier, it’s a moving coffin. Because the car sold in India tested by Global NCAP in 2020 with those safety features failed to achieve any star rating. And in my opinion, it isn’t a surprise. I mean, look at the car! It’s like Captain America before he gets injected with the serum.
The basic idea behind building these skinny cars is that when you use cheap materials for the bodywork, you get something that weighs less. That gives you better mileage. And back in the day, people loved Suzuki because of the excellent mileage their cars offered. Even today, prospective customers emphasize mileage rather than safety standards. Then you’ve got those narrow tyres, once again helping with mileage but not safety. And all that contributes towards reducing the price too!
People in India are grasping the idea of safety standards and crash test ratings. Reports of crash ratings of cars, especially the videos, are shared online these days, and I guess the Indian car market will become inhospitable for Suzuki gradually. But how much they’ve decided to act upon it is still a question. Recently, they launched a new version of their Alto K10, which doesn’t look any different from what they’ve already made. It’s again another car with narrow tyres with a skinny body. Instead of a Suzuki, I’d recommend the Tata Punch, which looks solid, and well – it is! It’s a bit more expensive than the Suzuki, but it’s worth it.
On the other hand, the after-sales service offered by most of its competition is a nightmare. I’m not saying that Suzuki does a good job either – no! Comparatively, services made by Suzuki are cheaper, as well as their spare parts. That provokes people to go for Suzuki. I give you that their cars are reliable, and the quality of the product is ok-ish. But certainly, safety is critical. I believe people are still used to the feeling they’d experienced long back that Suzuki had offered in their initial stages. So, unless the competition ups its game, Suzuki will thrive as it has all these years. What I’ve delivered might seem harsh, but it is what it is, and these words come from experience.Published in