June 19, 2018, 7:57 pm
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Suzuki shifts transmission tech with new Dzire

TO solidify its place in the compact car segment further, Suzuki Philippines (SPH) introduced to the media the newest iteration of the Suzuki Dzire. 

The new variant, first introduced at the Manila International Auto Show last April features an innovative Auto Gear Shift (AGS) transmission which does away with the clutch, providing the convenience of an automatic transmission with the driveability and fuel economy normally associated with a manual transmission.

In a special media debut for the car, the AGS was put through its paces at the 3.7 kilometer Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC). AGS combines the convenience of a regular automatic or continuously variable transmission (CVT) with the responsiveness of a manual because it uses the
regular shifter and gearing of a manual transmission coupled to an “Intelligent Shift Control Actuator” which acts as the gearbox clutch. 

Feeding on sensor inputs from the engine and vehicle speed as well as the actions of the driver on the gear lever, the intelligent actuator smoothly disengages the engine from the transmission when shifting. Unlike a regular automatic transmission which depends on hydraulic pressure changes to shift the gears, or a CVT which uses belts to gradually change power delivery, AGS is a simpler technology in that it takes away the hassles of clutch pedal actuation. This according to Suzuki is especially useful in heavy traffic or going uphill.

Bringing in the Dzire is a move that SPH believes will help continue its upward sales performance. Late last year the company brought in the Suzuki Vitara which helped secure a increase in sales for the brand. By continually bringing in new models or vehicle innovations, the company is confident that it can improve and secure its position.

“The automotive sector in the first quarter of this year is down 9 percent but Suzuki is 15 percent up. There are many reasons for this growth but we think the biggest one is Suzuki’s ability to innovate based on what the market wants. For example, when we introduced the Ciaz the market still accepted a good priced B-segment car. For the Dzire we are targetting the same segment but with even better price and best technology,” Shuzo Hoshikura, VP and General Manager of Suzuki Philippines said.

The new Dzire is priced at P698K for the AGS version and P638K for the regular 5-speed manual transmission.

Hoshikura also pointed out how its dealer network has been totally supportive of the brand and the introduction of the new car was part of an overall strategy of listening to its market through its dealers. Currently the brand has 70 dealers and sales outlets nationwide and expects to expands to 10 more by the end of the year. He pointed out one of the the strengths of this network expansion is it is building outside of the National Capital Region (NCR).

“We want to build our network more outside the NCR because we want more customers to experience the Suzuki brand. After seeing how enthusiastic the local market is about our product and service offerings, particularly this first quarter of 2018, we at Suzuki Philippines became more inspired to pursue even more strongly our goal of sharing the Suzuki Way of Life with more Filipinos,” Hoshikura emphasizes.

As for the introduction of the Dzire in the same segment where another Suzuki sedan, the Ciaz, is already strong, the Suzuki GM said that they expect no cannibalization in terms of sales because of a P100K price gap between the two cars. 

“We introduced the Dzire to the market taking consideration of the many different Philippine driving conditions. Of course foremost is traffic. Because it is not a regular automatic transmission, those who are used to driving manual will find the AGS both familiar but new,” Kennedy Adia, Product Specialist, SPH said. Adia was referring to the fact the only difference is the lack of clutch work, but without the shifting lag.

Adia also points out an interesting fact. The car, despite having a manual transmission is qualified as an automatic thus drivers who posses licenses with a Restriction No. 4 (automatic transmission only) can use the car.

“It is with pride that we share with Filipinos the latest technology of the Suzuki brand through the all-new Dzire with Auto Gear Shift. For our customers we recommend the use of the D-mode first and later on they will learn and will be more familiar to use the M-mode,” Hoshikura concludes.
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