- 16 Dec 2020 9:20 AM
At Magyar Suzuki, we also took a significant step in this direction by starting the series production of hybrid vehicles in Esztergom in December 2019. We spoke to the Head of Corporate Communications, Zsuzsanna Bonnár-Csonka.
Grounded in Reality
Manufacturers are undertaking innovations on a massive scale and at a bewildering pace in order to meet the EU’s multi-step regulation regarding carbon dioxide emissions reduction. These innovative developments impose extremely high expenses on automotive companies.
According to the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA), it is likely that the paying ability of new car market customers will not be able to keep up with the prices of the new models with alternative drive systems.
Consumer Knowledge Is Still in Its Infancy
It is also important to see that the transformation of the industry is not tailored to the demands of consumers this time. According to Magyar Suzuki’s own research, buyers of new cars only rank the importance of low emissions on the 10th place out of 15 criteria. Most buyers are primarily concerned with the right value for their money, followed by the presence of safety systems, the amount of upkeep costs, and warranty.
We get the impression that our customers are not really familiar with hybrid technologies, and thus are wary of them. We need to inform them about the fact that they don’t need to pay attention to the charge level of the battery or plan with a stop for charging during travel with hybrid models.
These models reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 10-15% compared to their traditional equivalents. In our overall experience, only a small percentage of customers have detailed knowledge or familiarize themselves with the technology before purchasing a car.
New Technology with Unchanged Quality
Following the worldwide trend of adopting eco-friendly and sustainable car manufacturing technologies and in line with our previous statements above, Suzuki Motor Corporation is focusing on the development of hybrid and electric models in the spirit of a human scale continuous improvement. We aim to manufacture the different generations of eco-friendly cars in the usual high Suzuki quality and in a cost-effective way.
Magyar Suzuki has made significant progress on this road by beginning the serial production of hybrid vehicles in the December of 2019. In our Esztergom plant, we make hybrid cars for the Hungarian and European Union markets. Our new hybrid models equipped with 48V ISG technology provide the usual driving experience our customers are familiar with.
These models reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by 10-15% compared to their traditional equivalents, furthermore, they are lighter and smaller than other full hybrid or plug-in hybrid systems. The move towards new technologies is both a challenge and a responsibility to us. It is our mission to aim for broad audiences while popularising sustainable mobility. In this spirit, our parent company has a collaboration with Toyota.
Within the scope of this co-operation, two new models manufactured abroad will also become available in Europe. Pre-sales of the plug-in hybrid SUV, Across, started in the first half of November, and sales of the fully hybrid Swace are expected to begin next January. The two models are characterised by much lower fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions than even soft hybrids.
What Comes Next
To summarise our experiences, we see that for most of our customers the first priority remains getting the well-known and trusted Suzuki quality in our hybrid models, too. Thus, although our development is continuous and is in accordance with prevailing consumer demands and the market environment, our innovations are not always technological inventions, but often practical solutions instead.
Our goal is to make improvements that enable us to create a value for money product for our customers. We tend to refer to Industry 4.0, as a revolution, however, it is a rather slow process in reality. This is the principle that guides us in our everyday work with our colleagues and suppliers. Digitalization and the switch to smart production are important partial solutions that enable us to reduce our operational costs and establish competitive pricing practice.
Traditional and Alternative Technology at the Suzuki Plant
The point of hybrid models is that they utilise a traditional drive train as well as an alternative one. This means that with the introduction of our new models, we needed to adopt new, unfamiliar technologies and parts in addition to our existing technologies, since up to this point, we have been producing cars exclusively with internal combustion engines.