Suzuki has confirmed that the UK allocation of its Jimny will be cut for 2020 in order to reduce the impact of the SUV’s high CO2 output on the range average. The 1.5-litre petrol-powered 4x4 emits 154g/km, significantly hindering Suzuki’s chances of slipping beneath the 95g/km range average that will be required by EU law in 2021. Things are even worse for the automatic model, which emits 170g/km, leading to speculation that sales of the plucky off-roader were to be canned entirely in Europe.
The Japanese car maker’s UK arm has, however, assured customers that the Jimny “will remain on sale in the UK in very limited numbers throughout 2020”. Sales in 2019 were limited to 1,200 cars, so it’s possible the supply will dip into three figures this year. How that will affect buyers who are yet to receive their existing orders is unknown. Suzuki said it will “make every effort to ensure delivery to its customers who have already placed an order”, suggesting leftovers from last year could eat into 2020’s allocation.
The Jimny’s struggles relate to its use of a traditional powertrain setup, comprised of that naturally aspirated 1.5-litre four-pot which produces just 101hp at 6,000rpm. The much-loved off-roader weighs only 1,135kg thanks to its dinky size, and could hardly be called thirsty, either, with a combined economy of 41.5mpg. But with the drag of a mechanical four-wheel drive system and brick-like design to contend with, the gutless engine has always been inefficient in operation. The model’s survival beyond 2020 is therefore far from certain.
Of course, Suzuki isn’t the only brand forced to take action in response to the upcoming emissions limit. AMG’s controversial decision to swap V8 power for hybrid four-cylinder drive in its next C63 is almost certainly encouraged by it, as is Maserati’s choice to launch its next GranTurismo – a car equally as famed for its engine as the Merc – as a fully electric model. It’s of no coincidence that Porsche is to turn its Macan into a pure EV once the rule change comes into force, while even the Cayman and Boxster models are due to get electric variants in their next generations. Which makes you wonder why Suzuki hadn’t thought to produce a pure-EV Jimny. It’s not like we’d miss that engine…