See You Jimny!
Possessing as much desirability as a McLaren supercar, which is not as daft a comparison as you might think, an instant collectability status has arisen for the latest Jimny model, in either of its trim guises. Despite the Japanese factory working flat-out to satisfy a worldwide demand for what is essentially a ‘kei-class’ model in its domestic scene (remove the wheel-arches and the bigger bumpers and wheels and you have a Japanese city-car par excellence), sadly, the UK’s first year allocation is all but sold out.
While this is not what a lot of potential Suzuki customers want to hear, it is an astonishing position in which the company finds itself. The relative lack of availability will do wonders for the trade-in values of the Jimny, which will make it the slowest depreciating car in the range. However, it also has the effect of bolstering the values of older examples too. While hardly turning the 4x4 into a little ‘pot of gold’, for the first time in the company’s history, all eyes are directed at Suzuki.
You might well ask; how did it happen? Officially, the Jimny goes on sale in January 2019. However, for the previous six months, the blogosphere has been full of rumours and early stories about the forthcoming 4x4, none of which were started by Suzuki Cars. Of course, as firmer details of the new model were announced around three months ago, off the back of the Paris Motor Show, the momentum built to previously unheard-of peaks.
Naturally, it could be simply that proper 4x4s are a bit thin on the ground. After all, Land Rover deserted the traditional market sector, when it dropped the old-style Defender from its ranks, without a replacement. Apart from the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, which costs an eye-watering £140,000, Jimny is the ONLY true off-roader on sale today, at one-ninth the price! It is suggested that the Jimny even looks like a cut-down G-Wagen, with its designed-for-purpose, square-cut appearance.
However, none of this really explains the present Jimny phenomenon. If you can tolerate steel wheels and a CD player, opt for the SZ4 at £15,495. If you prefer a set of attractive alloys and sat-nav, go for the SZ5 at £17,999. There is a bit more to the Jimny than those superficial aspects but it does represent excellent value-for-money, however you cut it.
The first allocation to the UK, at the Grimsby import centre, is a mix of around 700 examples. Each has a name allocated to it. A total of around 1,700 Jimnys will be landed in a full year and the first years’ worth is all but sold out, at the last reckoning. Therefore, if you really want one, you must be prepared to wait. Patience is still a virtue; however hateful it might be at this stage.
In the meantime, revel in the fact that, if you have placed an order for a new Jimny, be aware that it has the most astonishing levels of off-road competence, with its full set of low ratio transfer gears, allied to a full complement of on-road driver and safety aids. It may present retrospective looks but it is bang up-to-date in every other respect.
Luscombe’s summary: We shall endeavour to obtain every available Jimny in the country to satisfy our growing bank of customer orders for what is, without doubt, the most capable and cost-efficient 4x4 on sale today.
Next week: Iain reflects on the Liana, Top Gear’s ‘low-priced family car’.
Meet our Team – Shaun Holmes
It does not take a wizard to work out why Luscombe Suzuki is such a highly regarded, much-awarded and popular place to visit; its strength lies in its people, their abilities to listen and the levels of involvement they have with their customers.
A man in his mid-thirties, previously married but with three children (a 15-year-old boy and two girls aged 11 and 6 years), Shaun Holmes understands life and its up and down-sides. He is a man dedicated to his work and it does take precedence in his life, as he states: “Working at Luscombes is never a chore. It is my life, because that is what our company ethos is all about. It is what Robin (Luscombe) instils in each member of his team.”
As Assistant Sales Manager, Shaun commenced working at Luscombe Suzuki two months prior to Robin buying the former Robert Bowett franchise, in 2010. While Bowetts had a good reputation through much of its existence, Luscombe has added a number of different facets to it, prime of which is the complete lack of commercial pressure. “It is a fascinating position to adopt,” explains Shaun, “because virtually every other dealership in the country is targeted and has to meet franchise standards as just two components of a list of priorities. Luscombes is managed quite differently.”
By placing people in pole position, whether they be staff, or customers, a satisfyingly diverse attitude is developed and Shaun is aware of the opportunities it presents to him. “I am in a fortunate position to deal with many returning customers. However, despite the relatively ‘cold’ nature of the car business, these people are not just customers but they become friends and, even with service intervals meaning that you might not see them for almost a year, we recognise their voices on the telephone, we become involved in their lives.”
Naturally, many of these relationships are developed on the back of first-rate communication skills. However, the complete lack of pressure and a Luscombe remit that does not involve the word ‘sell’, create a relaxed and friendly environment that fits totally with Shaun Holmes and his aspirations. It merely helps that Suzuki is the brand, which develops its own nurturing culture.
Luscombe’s summary: As one of our most experienced communicators, Shaun possesses the necessary innate talents to ensure continued success for Suzuki in the Leeds area.
Next week: Iain considers the essence of Suzuki
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