The all-new Suzuki S-Cross launches in Australia
From idea to on road, we track the journey of Suzuki’s new S-Cross hatch.
The launch of the stunning new Suzuki S-Cross hatch highlighted the speed with which modern-day design moves from concept to reality.
Suzuki’s latest automotive pioneer first saw the light of day in 2012, when it stole the limelight at the 2012 Mondial de l’Automobile (the Paris Motor Show). A mere six months later, a production version was on show at the Geneva Auto Exposition, with European sales starting in October 2013.
That represents an astonishingly short 13-month gestation period from concept to reality. Compare that to the Swift – it first broke cover at the 2002 Paris Show, but it wasn’t until 2005 that the car finally went on sale. So, what has happened to cause such a dramatic speed up of the process in less than a decade?
A quick turnaround
There are several reasons, one of the most obvious being increases in computing power. The general rule of thumb dictates processing power doubles every 18 months, meaning the time taken for complex programs to be undertaken is always decreasing.
Another reason is the ongoing maturation of the market, with concept cars now being used to gauge reaction to real world changes. “In the past, we used concept cars to showcase experimental ideas,” explains Suzuki S-Cross Chief Designer Takehito Arai. “We would use them to trial futuristic looks and technologies, to understand how people would react and provide information for potential future models.”
Giving buyers what they want
In the financially responsible post-GFC era, designers have – like the rest of their colleagues in the automotive world – had to rein in their spending. “Ongoing research into our vast customer base meant we knew a great deal about what the public wanted from the new S-Cross before we started on the program,” says Arai.
“We knew they wanted more space, more refinement and outstanding fuel economy, while still retaining the ‘fun to drive’ appeal that is inherent in all Suzuki cars. “That meant we could use the S-Cross concept in Paris to check reaction to some very minor styling designs that still had a chance to make it to the final production version.”
Setting the standard
Suzuki continues to use the concept car process to quickly deliver its stunning design iterations into showroom metal. The Kizashi 3 concept was uncovered to an expectant audience at the 2008 Australian International Motor Show in Sydney and on sale 18 months later. And the Swift S concept broke cover at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and was being driven on Australian roads just 12 months later.
The new S-Cross has continued that trend, which augurs well for fans of Suzuki’s concept car designs. We look forward to seeing the production version of the iV-4 SUV concept some time in 2014.