JAPAN: Suzuki Wagon R is Nissan's minicar choice

By just-auto.com editorial team | 11 May 2001

Nissan has apparently decided to re-badge segment expert Suzuki's Wagon R model to enter Japan's subcompact market for the first time.

Insiders describe the new Nissan contender as a 'wagon type' vehicle which will share its platform, body panels and dashboard with the donor Suzuki.

Nissan will distinguish its version with its own bumpers, front wings and interior detailing before chasing 3,000 minicar sales a month from next spring.

Although Nissan might poach some Japanese sales, the deal should provide useful incremental business for Suzuki which has already cloned the current Wagon R into the General Motors Vauxhall/Opel Agila sold in Europe.

Curiously, the clone is built in Poland with a different engine than the Hungarian-made European-specification Suzuki version, though most other major components are shared.

Meanwhile, Suzuki reached a 1.5-million Japanese market Wagon R sales milestone in April. The original model was first introduced in September 1993 to target young male buyers and was almost instantly voted Japan's car of the year.

The tall, boxy little Wagon R has topped the subcompact sales charts since August 1995.

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