By now you would’ve read that Naza Eastern Motors, the new distributor for Suzuki cars in Malaysia, has launched the fourth generation Suzuki Swift Sport. Priced at RM 139,900, imported (CBU) from Japan, thus explains its higher price.
Enthusiasts who prefer to row their own gears will be disappointed to know that only one powertrain is offered for the Malaysian market Suzuki Swift Sport – a 140 PS / 230 Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder paired exclusively to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
If you want your Suzuki Swift Sport with a 6-speed manual transmission, you will have to go to recond dealers, but prices are not that much cheaper. Prices start from circa RM 130k, but it’s for a 3 to 4 years old car.
Why can’t buyers choose between a manual or an automatic?
The short and simple answer is that our car market is too small to justify the additional after-sales investments required to support two transmission types.
Never mind Suzuki. Recall that even Volkswagen’s iconic Golf GTI is only available in Malaysia with an automatic transmission.
The reason? Investments into after-sales would be a lot higher if dealers will have to support a 6-speed manual alongside a 6-speed DSG.
Special tools are required to do maintenance work on the transmission – gearbox removal, disassembly, clutch replacement etc.
Of course, your independent workshop will also be able to do the same work but when a company is appointed as an authorized distributor, it needs to follow certain factory-approved procedures, using the correct set of factory-approved tools.
It’s same with Naza Eastern Motor. Doubling the transmission option for the Suzuki Swift Sport would have doubled the investment required, and how many units of the Swift Sport can Naza realistically expect to sell?
Don’t forget that enthusiast drivers are known to be a very vocal bunch on social media but when it comes to voting with their wallet, few will put their money where their online persona said they would.
Also, few enthusiast drivers will buy a new car. Most would rather go for a cheap used / reconditioned example and since they intend to modify their car, warranty is not an important criteria.
Meanwhile, regular drivers who are willing to pay a premium for something different would more likely use it as a daily car, thus the appeal of the automatic transmission variant.
All things considered, we think Naza’s decision to only offer the Swift Sport with an automatic transmission is the right one. It's one or the other. Having the best of both worlds is simply not on the menu. Not for a small market like Malaysia, not with our high taxes for imported cars.
For the few keen drivers looking to play with three pedals, your friendly recond dealer will be more than willing to source a 6-speed manual Swift Sport for you.
If you are going to track it and modify it, why bother paying full price for a new car? After all, Naza's cars only come with a 3-year/100,000 km warranty instead of the usual 5 years / unlimited mileage warranty.