The Suzuki Fronx has been a big hit in South Africa since its launch approximately six months ago, with sales that are on par with many of the brand’s other popular options.
It is one of the only crossovers in South Africa that can still be bought for less than R300,000, which is possible due to the fact that it is based on one of the carmaker’s existing models – the Baleno hatchback.
Hatchback or crossover?
Crossovers and SUVs have seen a huge surge in popularity in recent years at the expense of hatchbacks and sedans, and the Fronx is one of the latest examples of a brand attempting to capitalize on this shift in tastes – with great success.
The following table shows a monthly sales breakdown of the Fronx’s sales compared to its Baleno sibling since the former launched in South Africa in August last year:
|Suzuki Baleno sales
|Suzuki Fronx sales
That R41,000 price difference is much more pronounced at this end of the market than it would be for other segments, and yet many people are evidently willing to stretch their wallets to pick up the SUV despite the two cars’ similarities.
For context, the Fronx and Baleno use the same 1.5-litre petrol engine with a choice of a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox, and even have the same GL and GLX trim levels with near-identical equipment lists.
The Fronx’s main advantage comes down to its improved ground clearance of 170mm instead of 150mm, as the pair are otherwise very similar. The crossover’s dimensions are not much bigger than the Baleno, and it actually has a smaller boot of 304 litres vs 314 litres before the rear seats are folded.
Nonetheless, consumers have shown that they are interested in SUVs and are willing to pay a premium to get their hands on one if they can.