Suzuki SX4 Profile

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Suzuki SX4 General Information

The car is still new, history to follow later.

The car is now old and finished competing and still there is nothing to write here....

Well, there are basically two reasons why that is that way.

1) I said in the Suzuki main manufacturer story already that, like Hyundai with the Accent WRC and as well Seat with the Cordoba WRC, Suzuki was a bit naive thinking their sub category success guarantied them to fight for outright World Championships. All three of them seem to have overlooked how these sub category successes came along. When Suzuki started their SX4 WRC program in 2008, they won the JuniorWRC twice, 2004 & 2007, both with PG Andersson. So far, so good. What is overlooked here is that Suzuki entered a huge works team into the JWRC and that with a breathtaking choice of drivers. Alongside PG Andersson there were Guy Wilks, Urmo Aava, Kosti Katajamäki, Daniel Carlsson, and even odd starts for Jari-Matti Latvala and Chris Atkinson, and there still were a few more drivers. And still in all those years as a regular 3-4 car works team with star names they only won the JWRC twice? In all other years they were still beaten by often the sole privateer Renault or Citroën with sadly long forgotten drivers as Brice Tirabassi, Patrick Sandell or Daniel Sola?! To top it, they developed 3 different models of cars over the time for this JWRC result? And that seriously makes them believe they had a good car?

OK, they won the JWRC twice and they have all rights to market that fact. But the icing on the cake for me was the arrogance to come with that. Or maybe arrogance is the wrong word here, but they displayed an attitude that I just hate when they seriously claimed on their WRCar debut that they will need one year to learn, fight for podiums immediately and will be World Champions within 2 years. Really? When you shot with cannons on sparrows and underfinanced sparrow Brice Tirabassi still beat you?

2) The second point is the choice of car. This is a little trickier, as what should they have taken if not the SX4? To not sound totally biased against Suzuki, I think their Swift model in the 2nd generation (from 2004 after a long gap, the Cultus was the "Swift Mk1" on many markets) is actually a nippy fun hot hatch, and it is rare I say that about a Japanese car. But at 3m70 it is a bit too short to turn it into a WRCar when WRCar rules had a minimum length of 4m at the time. The surprise is that I believe the Kizashi could have been a good base car. Ki-what? Even the name is silly and even Suzuki seems unable to explain what Kizashi means. And as a large saloon it didn't fit to the image of the Suzuki brand, hence in 2013 production was stopped again after only 4 years. A shame really, because the Kizashi was a 4-door saloon that was even longer than the Subaru Impreza, but it had filigree lines, low centre of gravity, was relatively light and still seemed to be a rather solid car. Nobody seemed to buy it because it was a big surprise Suzuki would launch a large saloon like that, but I felt it was a positive surprise. Nevertheless, the Kizashi was only launched in 2009, so if a 2008 WRC program was the target it came a little too late.

So here we go, we are stuck with the SX4. Why SX4, when other Suzuki models had names, and not all their name creations were as silly as Kizashi or their latest budget car the Celery. But already here we start seeing what is wrong. According to Suzuki SX4 stands for Sports X-over 4WD, although 4WD was only optional. And Maruti in India sold the SX4 as a smaller alternative to the Vitara off roader. More it is actually a Fiat design. Fiat sold it as the Sedici, which is Italian for 16, a word game out of 4x4, hence again even Fiat saw it as an off roader. And I bet Fiat would have never had it cross their minds turning the Sedici into a rally car and in fact the Sedici was soon replaced again by the 500X - which is again a 4x4 off roader, although based on the Fiat 500.

Somehow it is tempting to compare the Suzuki SX4 WRC project to the Mini Countryman WRC. The Mini (what did BMW think here, it's more like Leyland Routemaster) also could never win a WRC rally, but somehow it wasn't too shabby in the results. The SX4 was smaller and lighter than the Mini Countryvan and given the WRC permitted width changes this should have been good news for the SX4. But somehow just by looking at it, you knew this car will never work.

It seems I can't complain enough about it. To be honest, I have also been embarrassingly wrong at times, I believed VW could never make a WRC winning car, or vice versa with the dawn of groupA I firmly believed the cars to beat in WRC 1987 would be the Mazda 323 and the Ford Sierra. But the Suzuki SX4 has this design that somehow is beyond any doubts, whatever you did to it in widening it, adding big spoilers, it always looked super tipsy, show it a corner and it will tip over, as simple as that.

Now combine all that again to the above mentioned dose of arrogance. I say arrogance without pointing fingers at anyone personally except maybe the very top Suzuki directory board. Suzuki's motorsport boss Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima was probably the most characterful motorsport boss that ever came out of Japan. And I somehow have the feeling Monster would never have chosen the SX4 as the base car himself. Soon from inside Suzuki Monster's name was put in question, when it was the base car to blame and nothing that Monster could influence. The same story carried on the more the project failed. Team manager Michel Nandan was blamed next, when before Suzuki Nandan helped creating the unbeatable Peugeot 206 WRC and today is a rather successful motorsport boss at Hyundai. Next personality they found to blame SX4 failure on was engineer Mario Fornaris, who also previously was involved with the Peugeot 206 WRC, he next created an absolute miracle when turning round the unsuccessful Mitsubishi Lancer WRC with WRC04 & WRC05 evolutions and since being sacked from Suzuki Fornaris is the main engine designer in Skoda's successful S2000 & R5 program. How come all these names are very successful in any other project before and after, when Suzuki was that convinced it was Tajima, Nandon & Fornaris to blame for their crap car? Sorry, sounds all negative, but that basically brings it to the point.

A good point seems to be their selection of drivers. Nicolas Bernardi and Basti Lindholm should be good test and development drivers. They also gave the car's debut on its sole 2007 starts - and both gave an initial hint to disaster. Bernardi finished 31st overall on his favourite event Tour de Corse and Lindholm came 27th on Wales GB. OK, both had to "superally" or "rally2", but even in trouble free stages they were beaten by groupN cars. Uups, wanted to say something positive? How very, very brilliant they invited PG Andersson as their main driver for the full 2008 season. PG is not only the only driver (despite names as Wilks, Latvala, Atkinson) who could win JWRC titles for Suzuki, he is to my mind one of the most underrated drivers. And Toni Gardemeister is simply one of the most experienced alrounders you could find in those days. Still, throughout the project both drivers were more fighting to just get into the top10. Surprisingly Suzuki was quick in launching an Evolution version as the Suzuki SX4 WRC Evo2 debuted not even a year after the original version in Finland 2008. But here again changes only seemed rather minor, the drivers still struggled for top10 and probably the best decision of the whole project was to stop the program completely after only one season - despite previously claiming they will definitely win the World Championship in 2009.

To still try and find something positive, interesting seems the effort with the cars that have been built. The two events in 2007 with Bernardi and Lindholm were with chassis 007. There were no less than 6 chassis built for testing and development, although 005 & 006 have been activated as competition cars during 2008. At first all WRCars were on Japanese reg plates, but with the launch of the Evo2 in Finland 2008 the team switched back to Hungarian registrations, as were their S1600 cars before. All Evo2 were newly built cars with the exception of chassis 006 & 007, which were converted to Evo2 and re-registered on Hungarian plates. Although Evo2 chassis 010 never competed (and we have no hint of its purpose, test car or anything), altogether 13 WRCars were built, which is some going for only one season of competition. But the next negative curiosity is round the corner. All 13 official cars have been crushed! No idea why and no official confirmation, but it seems nobody at all wanted these cars. Some sources claim there is a Suzuki SX4 WRC competing in Barbados since some years, but that is a privately built copy. Not many positives here? Hmm, after all to claim Suzuki was a bit naive with this project is probably still the polite way of putting it.

Suzuki SX4 Related Content

Suzuki SX4 Evolutions

Model & Evo. (Activity)
Suzuki SX4 WRC Evo1 (07-08) 320/4500 590/3500 4135.1770.1545 1230 (3.8) 4x4 (2500)
Suzuki SX4 WRC Evo2 (08-08) 320/4500 590/3500 4135.1770.1545 1230 (3.8) 4x4 (2500)

Random Suzuki SX4 Photos

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Suzuki SX4 Results

This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
8th. 2008 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] 3:49:56.5
7th. 2008 WRC Swedish Rally T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] 2:57:16.5
23rd. 2008 WRC Rally Argentina P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
9th. 2008 WRC Rally Sardinia Italy P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] 4:04:55.9
9th. 2008 WRC Acropolis Rally T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] 4:05:8.5
11th. 2008 WRC Acropolis Rally P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] 4:08:47.2
8th. 2008 WRC Rally of Finland T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] 3:02:24.2
10th. 2008 WRC Rallye Deutschland T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] 3:33:36.5
15th. 2008 WRC Rallye Deutschland P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
6th. 2008 WRC Rally New Zealand P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] 4:06:56.3
7th. 2008 WRC Rally New Zealand T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] 4:07:13.8
13th. 2008 WRC Rallye Catalunya T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] 3:32:43.5
32nd. 2008 WRC Rallye Catalunya P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
13th. 2008 WRC Tour de Corse T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
17th. 2008 WRC Tour de Corse P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
5th. 2008 WRC Rally Japan (Hokkaido) P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] 3:30:15.9
6th. 2008 WRC Rally Japan (Hokkaido) T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] 3:31:12.4
5th. 2008 WRC Rally of Great Britain P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] 2:47:13.7
7th. 2008 WRC Rally of Great Britain T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] 2:48:34.6
31st. 2007 WRC Tour de Corse N. Bernardi J. Fortin #19 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00
27th. 2007 WRC Rally of Great Britain S. Lindholm T. Tuominen #19 [UNKNOWN] 0:00:00

Suzuki SX4 Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 2008 WRC Tour de Corse P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] SS11 crash
Ret. 2008 WRC Rallye Catalunya P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] SS2 crash
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally of Finland P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] SS16 crash
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally of Turkey P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] SS11 electrics
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally of Turkey T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] SS11 suspension
Ret. 2008 WRC Acropolis Rally P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] SS11 suspension
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally Sardinia Italy T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] SS11 suspension
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally Sardinia Italy T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] SS15 suspension
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally of Jordan P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] SS1 crash
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally of Jordan T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] SS3 engine
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally of Jordan P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] SS19 suspension
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally Argentina P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] SS0 electronics
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally Argentina T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] SS8 suspension
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally Argentina P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] SS14 suspension
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally Argentina T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] SS16 hydraulics
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally Argentina T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] SS19 steering
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally Mexico P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] SS4 engine
Ret. 2008 WRC Rally Mexico T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] SS4 engine
Ret. 2008 WRC Swedish Rally P. Andersson J. Andersson #12 [UNKNOWN] SS4 engine
Ret. 2008 WRC Rallye Monte Carlo T. Gardemeister T. Tuominen #11 [UNKNOWN] SS14 engine
Ret. 2007 WRC Rally of Great Britain S. Lindholm T. Tuominen #19 [UNKNOWN] SS3 brakes
Ret. 2007 WRC Tour de Corse N. Bernardi J. Fortin #19 [UNKNOWN] SS4 electrics
Ret. 2007 WRC Tour de Corse N. Bernardi J. Fortin #19 [UNKNOWN] SS10 engine