April 17, 2014 1:00 pm JST

Suzuki aims for car that gets 40km per liter

TOKYO -- Suzuki Motor says it will create cars that can run for 40km per liter of gasoline by improving its existing technologies.

     The moves comes as Suzuki seeks to reinforce its presence in emerging economies, where demand for efficient cars is growing.The company also aims to take on archrival Daihatsu Motor, which has set a target of the 42.195km fuel economy, the length of a marathon.

    The 40km-per-liter gasoline car is among several technologies, unveiled Wednesday by Executive Vice President Osamu Honda, that Suzuki plans to use to launch low-cost, fuel efficient vehicles in India and countries in Southeast Asia. Already, Suzuki's Alto Eco minivehicle has a fuel economy of 35km per liter.

    Tougher clean-air regulations are expected to be implemented from around 2020 in these emerging economies, and Suzuki wants to be ready for them. 

    Working smarter

"We will adopt a simple, low-cost control system" for Suzuki cars, Honda said in reference to the carmaker's program to develop a series of new vehicles, including a compact hybrid car.

     Profit margins on compact cars are so thin Suzuki cannot afford to adopt a complicated, high-cost control system used by big automakers such as Toyota Motor and Honda Motor. Suzuki thus intends to build on its existing technologies.

     Suzuki's Ene-Charge system sends power to electric components using electricity generated when a vehicle brakes. It plans to improve this system so that saved electricity can also be used to support the driving mechanism when the car accelerates.

     Suzuki will also seek to raise the efficiency of gasoline engines by using chassis that are 15% lighter than the currently used ones.

     Suzuki is also developing a two-cylinder, 800cc diesel engine for use in cars sold in India. The company's Indian subsidiary has the biggest share of the auto market in that country, and Suzuki hopes this new engine will further expand its lead over South Korea's Hyundai Motor and India's Tata Motors. Suzuki currently procures diesel engines for the market from Italian automaker Fiat.