A 3,000-units-per-month deal with Nissan for re-badged ‘OEM’ Wagon Rs hasn’t got in the way of Suzuki’s long-standing arrangement with Mazda. The latter, in the news a lot lately following the launch of the new 6 and RX-8 ranges, has now announced it will, from next spring, start sales of a new subcompact minivan, produced as an OEM model by Suzuki.

The new minivan (a mini-mini-minivan by Western markets’ size categories) will be significantly different in one respect. While the other Mazda ‘OEMs’ are clones that barely differ from their Suzuki counterparts, the new model will have a complete different design penned by Mazda itself. It will, however, share the Wagon R platform with the Suzuki original and the Nissan clone which will also have some unique exterior body panels.

Mazda has actually halted production of its own subcompacts and the new model will extend the current line-up of six re-badged models built by Suzuki at the rate of 40,000 a year.

Suzuki has installed new flexible production lines at its Konan plant to produce OEM models that differ more widely from its own specifications than previously, where little more than badging and trim were altered.

Suzuki’s deal with Mazda dates back to 1989 when the first complete vehicles were supplied. Engine and parts supply for the now-axed Mazda-built Carol minicar began later.

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