Selling SA’s most affordable auto

Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame used to tell his global audience that the best cars carry their creators’ names

Suzuki S-Presso
Duncan Parsons, dealer principal at Fury Motors in Pietermaritzburg
Duncan Parsons, dealer principal at Fury Motors in Pietermaritzburg


His list included Ferdinand Porsche, Enzo Ferrari, Ferruccio Lamborghini, Karl Benz and -- for a while back in the 1990s -- Soichiro Honda.

But with Honda now focused on making exo-skeletons for Japan’s many pensioners, the marque that gave us variable valve timing has been pushed off this list by Suzuki, whose founder, the late Michio Suzuki, would be proud of how well his budget brand is selling to South Africans.

Duncan Parsons, dealer principal at Fury Motors in Pietermaritzburg, a multi-franchise dealer selling Honda and Suzuki vehicles and motorbikes, said it all boils down to affordability. He said the Suzuki S-Presso is now the cheapest passenger car with automatic transmission in South Africa. Normally, the preserve of pensioners wanting “a last car”, Parson’s said the S-Presso is proving very popular with female students looking for their first car.

As is the case with most new car buyers, the students’ fathers arrive armed with all the specs of the Suzuki and its competitors – the Renault Kwid and the Datsun Go. They say the Kwid has a much bigger loading capacity, a year’s insurance and a longer warranty; while the heavier Go offers an even longer warranty and its engine delivers 14 more newtons. But to seal the deal on the S-Presso, Parson’s tiny sales staff just have to point out the spunky little crossover has a standard service plan, which is optional on the Kwid and Go, despite the S-Presso auto being R8k cheaper than the Kwid and R38k cheaper than the Go.

Parson’s said the only problem with selling the S-Presso is the long waiting list he has had to put his customers on.

At Suzuki Auto South Africa, Toni Herbst had good news for all Suzuki dealers: “After a little dry spell caused by the global situation we find ourselves in, we are due to receive a shipment of substantial size this month (end of July). These units will be available to dealers early August.” said Herbst.

Of interest is that most people don’t automatically buy the automatic S-Presso. Herbst said the model breakdown currently shows eight in ten buyers sign for the entry level manual, which lists for a low R139,900.

Model comparison

Suzuki S-Presso GL+ AMT

Renault Kwid Expression AMT

Datsun Go LUX CVT

List price

R158,900

R166,900

R197,800

Engine

998CC, 3-cylinder

999CC, 3-cylinder

1198CC, 3-cylinder

Power

50kW, 90Nm @ 3500 rpm

50kW, 91Nm @ 4250 rpm

57kW, 104 Nm @4400 rpm

Gearbox

5-speed AMT

5-speed AMT

5-speed CVT

Warranty

2yrs/ 100,000km

5yrs/ 150,000km

6yrs/ 150,000km

Service Plan

2yrs/ 30,000km

Optional

Optional

Tare

750 kg

759 kg

890 kg

Boot (litres)

239l

279-620l

265l

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