EconomyFinancialThe Suzuki Jimny phenomenon: the 4x4 model that runs...

The Suzuki Jimny phenomenon: the 4×4 model that runs out in hours in Mexico

“The legend arrives in Mexico”. In late 2020, various advertisements featuring a lime green Jimny began flooding Suzuki’s social media channels and dealer storefronts. The Japanese brand finally confirmed the start of the commercialization of the 4×4 model in the Mexican market, after months of negatives about its arrival.

The first generation of the Japanese off-roader saw the light with the LJ10 prototype presented in 1968, and two years later Suzuki began sales only in Japan. At the end of the decade, in 1978, the Jimny LJ80 arrived in Europe and three years later the second generation of the model arrived, the Jimny SJ410, known in many markets as the Samurai .

Since then, Suzuki has released several versions of the Jimny and the newest model – the fourth generation – was introduced globally in 2018. Its small and light body, its offroad assists, ample ground clearance, a 1.5 engine liters with 100 horsepower coupled to a gearbox transmission, added to an offer of striking colors made it a global phenomenon.

In April 2019, the model won the city car category at the New York International Auto Show, and within months units were successfully selling in the United States, Europe and some Asian markets. Demand exceeded supply and that made it difficult for them to reach the Mexican market.

“A favorable situation”

This would change months later when, in early 2020, the brand reported that due to new emissions laws in Europe, the Jimny would no longer be sold in that market. At least not in its current four-passenger configuration. This opened the possibility that the corporation could finally allocate units to the Mexican market, which had raised its hand since the 2018 launch.

“Europe was consuming Jimny at brutal speeds,” says Erick Gonzalez, Car Marketing Manager at Suzuki Motor de México. But when regulations tightened in Europe, Suzuki’s Mexican subsidiary told the corporation that it could sell more than 1,000 Jimnys a month in the local market. So -says González- the reasoning was: I have this already manufactured and Mexico is asking for more units. “It was a favorable situation,” he says.

Finally, the Japanese plant in charge of producing the model assigned a first batch of 1,000 units to the Mexican market and in November 2020 Suzuki organized a digital presale. Each Jimny was priced from 404,990 to 424,990 pesos, depending on the transmission and equipment level. That first batch sold out in less than 72 hours.

That first presale was followed by another a month later: but that second batch of 1,000 units sold out in just three hours.

The brand developed a microsite to carry out its pre-sales, which also became a source of information on the preferences of Mexican consumers regarding the model. “Leave us your information and we will notify you as soon as we have Jimny vehicles available”, asks the brand to customers who did not manage to register for any of the pre-sales, but who are interested in acquiring a Jimny.

The information collected allows the brand to get an idea of what specifications -type of transmission and color- the Mexican market is looking for, and to use them to order the next batch from the plant. Today the most requested configuration is the automatic transmission in gray.

“A romance that doesn’t stop”

So far, the Japanese brand has sold some 6,500 units of the SUV via presales, making the marketing strategy a success within the brand. Under this scheme, Suzuki has managed to market the equivalent of a third of its total sales for a month in less than an hour. It is not a minor achievement considering that it is a niche model.

“The buyer profile of Jimny is not the one who is looking for his first or his second car, we have seen that it becomes the third or fourth car of a family, because it is not a model focused on solving daily mobility… It is the whim that you can give yourself,” says González.

Will Jimny ever become a line model within the brand’s catalog? Not for now. Disruptions in the global supply chain and the return of the Jimny to the European market in a two-seater variant make it difficult for the Japanese plant responsible for producing the model to guarantee a constant inventory.

“We are going to continue bringing units to Mexico, not with the speed that we would like, but the offer is not going to stop,” says González. “Jimny continues to be a product for which there is a waiting list in other countries. The response we get from customers is still crazy,” he adds.

Some of the first units that were sold in the first pre-sale made in the Mexican market, and that have been accessorized, “This is a phenomenon that can hardly be seen with another model… The romance between the Mexican market and Jimny does not stop”, assures the manager.

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