The Suzuki Jimny Pick-Up Style Concept, shown at the Tokyo Auto Salon late last year, could see light of day after all. That’s if Suzuki’s Australian division gets its way.
In an interview with CarSales, the general manager of Suzuki’s Australian division, Michael Pachota, said that he was currently trying to convince head office in Japan to produce a bakkie version of the diminutive, but highly admired off-roader.
"Australian consumers can't wait to get their hands on a ute version, so I'm pushing very hard with the factory to try and get that into Australia," he told the Australian publication.
Pachota said he believes that the little-ute would appeal to farmers as well as city slickers, particularly those of the hipster persuasion.
But does the Australian division have enough clout to persuade HQ?
Pachota certainly seems to think so, stating that "Australia's influence takes a high play in terms of the design, research, development and new concepts that SMC plans to develop."
Current high demand for the SUV could delay such a project, but if and when it does get the green light, right-hand-drive production would be a given (for the Aussie market) and that would open the door to it being potentially sold in South Africa too.
But don’t expect too much in the way of a load bin if the baby bakkie eventually gets the green light.
It’s unlikely that Suzuki would extend the wheelbase for such a project, meaning it would have a relatively small load bin, albeit likely with a slightly longer rear overhang than the three-door SUV version.
The rest of the hardware will no doubt remain as is, including the normally aspirated 1.5-litre engine and old-school (but hugely effective) All-Grip Pro 4x4 system with low-range gearing.
The styling would be less retro than the concept however (you can certainly kiss those white-walled tyres goodbye, as well as the faux-wood side panels and ‘Cruiser’ grille), the production model likely sporting a similar styling package to its sister SUV.