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New Suzuki Models Entering Iran
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New Suzuki Models Entering Iran

Iran Khodro is moving ahead with plans to team up with Japanese automaker Suzuki, according to a new report this week.

The news released on Asre Khodro, a local automotive website, said IKCO has agreed with the Tokyo-based firm to begin an internal study to prepare the groundwork for cooperation.  

This latest news follows a press conference held late in July, which said Iran Khodro Company would produce three new Suzuki models.

At the time, Iran Khodro's CEO Hashem Yekezare announced that the models include the small hatchback Swift, another hatchback Celerio and a midsized sedan called Ciaz.

The CEO said IKCO plans to produce Celerio in large numbers. The three vehicles will be priced in the range of 250-500 million rials ($7,500-$15,000).

Iran Khodro and the budget car producer Suzuki had collaborated in the past in producing the 4x4 Grand Vitara in 2007 and the sedan named Kizashi, none of which fell under the affordable vehicles category in Iran.

Kizashi was released at the height of the sanctions regime in 2013 and did not catch on.

Auto trends in Iran, however, are very similar to those in India with several models produced in India finding their way to the Iranian market soon after. Of the three models slated to enter the Iranian market, the Swift is among bestsellers in India.

Suzuki, known globally for its affordable cars, dominates the Indian market. Almost no other global carmaker can compete with the Japanese brand in India.

Last year, Suzuki produced 2.88 million vehicles and ranked as the world's 10th largest vehicle manufacturer in terms of number of vehicles produced. The company's subsidiary in India alone, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, had manufactured 1,148,000 of the vehicles.  Maruti Suzuki would have ranked 15 in the top vehicle producers list, had it been assessed as an independent car manufacturer.  

Maruti owns nearly 50% of India's auto market. For two years, three of the models—the small sedan Dzire and the two hatchbacks Swift and Alto (a smaller version of Celerio)—have consistently topped the bestsellers' list in India.

  Swift

Swift is marked by fantastic styling, entertaining driving characteristics and solid build quality. Sharp steering and a decent chassis setup mean it responds accurately to driver inputs.

There is a decent set of engines to choose from: the 1.2-liter and the little 1.3 diesel in India. Suzuki also offers a 4x4 version, for extra grip in cold conditions.

The interiors are solidly made and hard-wearing. The overall design is clean, logical and modern.

In terms of comfort, it’s worth remembering that Swift is one of the smaller cars in its class and although room upfront is fine, it’s very cramped in the rear and the cabin is rather noisy.

  Celerio

Meaning Celestial River, Celerio is designed to be a conventional-looking hatch. It keeps things pleasant with a wide prominent grille and large headlamps. Interiors are spacious and there is enough legroom and headroom that belies its tiny proportions.

The steering feel is a good mix of being not too heavy or too light. Celerio's power comes from a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine developing just 50 kW of power and 90 Nm of torque at 3000 rpm. The vehicle also offers unmatched fuel-efficiency.

  Ciaz

Ciaz's design is safe and yet attractive. The front fascia comprises a fairly large hood and a four-slat chrome grille with the Suzuki 'S' badge in the center.

Also, the large projector headlamps do not fail to grab your attention. The increased wheelbase allows a nice sweeping silhouette for the roof that smartly dives into the trunk. The rear is smartly sculpted with a slightly raised trunk and wraparound tail lamps. Rear legroom is phenomenal and the backrest is angled comfortably with just the right amount of lower back support.

The dashboard gets an elegant waterfall layout with an all-new multimedia system that includes a large touchscreen with access to music, telephone and navigation.

The Ciaz is a comfortable family sedan. It has a big car feel both inside and out. It is confident to tackle a typical highway journey. The ride is supple and has enough features to keep you company when not driving.

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