Suzuki Australia’s best-selling model will soon be no more, with confirmation the final examples are in dealers – and the updated model revealed in India won’t be sold here.
There will soon be just two new cars on sale in Australia for less than $20,000 drive-away, with confirmation the 2022 Suzuki Baleno will be phased out by the end of this year.
The final shipments of the current version of Suzuki’s popular Indian-built city car have arrived on Australian shores – and the heavily-facelifted Baleno revealed for India earlier this year won’t be sold in Australia.
Drive is awaiting confirmation from Suzuki Australia on why the updated model won’t reach local showrooms, however one option is safety – that the new car, which wears new sheetmetal over carry-over underpinnings, hasn’t been engineered to meet Australian standards.
The Baleno was pulled from sale in the UK in 2019, citing low sales – and significant investment would be needed to see it continue to meet Australian safety regulations, which are unique compared to the city car’s main markets, such as India, where it’s a top seller.
Production of the current model – which does meet all local safety regulations – for Australia has wrapped up, and the “final months of allocation to dealers are upon us”, a Suzuki Australia spokesperson told Drive.
The Suzuki Baleno is one of Australia’s best-selling city cars, holding second place in the ‘light car’ segment behind the Chinese MG 3. Close to 1000 examples were sold last month, 60 per cent more than the third-placed Kia Rio.
It is also one of the last new cars on sale priced under $20,000 drive-away – sliding in at $19,990 drive-away for a base GL manual in all states bar Queensland – alongside the aforementioned MG 3 (from $18,990) and Korean-built Kia Picanto (from $18,490).
However, recent price hikes (but standard feature increases) mean even an entry-level manual Swift costs $24,490 drive-away (excluding Queensland) – up from as little as $18,990 drive-away in 2020, as advertised as a promotional offer.
It’s worth noting the Baleno’s axing leaves the MG 3 as the last model in the ‘light car’ class not available with any advanced safety technology, such as autonomous emergency braking, which is standard on the Kia Picanto.
However, it’s larger yet cheaper than its Suzuki Swift stablemate, and offers a larger boot than the top-selling MG 3.
Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.