Stronger residual values are expected to be the springboard for success for the car taking over from Suzuki's most popular model.
With a predicted 13% lift in retained value after three years and 60,000 miles, the new Celerio city car, which is back on sale after a safely recall (see fleetnews.co.uk/celerio-brakes), could soon be punching well above its weight in the competitive A-segment, believes Suzuki GB national corporate sales manager Andrew Wale.
“At 39%, the predictions are very good – and suggest our sales plans could prove to be rather conservative. They also strengthen our resolve to steer clear of discounting, daily rental and short cycle business, and should help us achieve steady, organic growth.
“Our initial registration target was 6,000 units, with 10% going to fleet, but we've already sold 1,000 cars from dealer test drive events and I think many public sector customers will like the prospect of getting a roomy, well-equipped five-door car on PCP and PCH packages from only £99 a month,” he told Fleet News.
Pitched to compete with the Kia Picanto and Volkswagen Up, the three-cylinder Alto replacement majors on packaging, price, competitive emissions and a potential 65mpg economy.
Providing surprisingly roomy accommodation for four adults, the car has 254 litres of luggage space that stretches to 726 litres, when the rear seats are folded, and a 9.4-metre turning circle helps make light work of parking manoeuvres.
Despite its modest capacity, the Japanese firm's 1.0-litre engine performs strongly and revs freely, with minimum noise. It gives the Celerio a demeanour some way beyond that of city car transport with neat handling and a slick gearbox to encourage brisk travel over country roads.
Spinning at only 3,000 revs at 70mph, the motor also provides comfortable motorway cruising and, despite its light weight, the test car demonstrated excellent straight-line stability during some strong crosswinds.
Fit and finish score high marks, and the spread of equipment is particularly impressive, with air conditioning, remote central locking, driver's seat height adjustment, power windows, digital radio, Bluetooth, alloy wheels, tilt-adjust steering, halogen headlamps and a 60-40-split rear seat all included as standard.
Side and curtain airbags, electronic stability control, tyre pressure monitoring and daytime running lights are also included in a generous safety package.
By the end of this month, an automated gear shift version of the SZ4 will be available, and the £1,000 option is claimed to have no impact on fuel efficiency or tailpipe emissions. At the same time, Suzuki will claim to offer the lowest-emission car, costing under £10,000 when it launches its new Dualjet option offering 84g/km, along with a potential economy of 78.4mpg.