Suzuki doesn’t sell vehicles in the U.S. anymore, but the adorable Suzuki Jimny has kept the company on America’s radar recently. And the burgeoning relationship (and model sharing) with Toyota is a funny bit of timing. Had the two companies hooked up earlier, it’s very possible that (like Mazda) Suzuki might still be selling cars we wouldn’t otherwise get here rebadged as Toyotas. Recall the Toyota Yaris and Yaris Hatchback—Mazda 2s in Toyota clothing. Meanwhile, in Europe, the new Suzuki Across is a Toyota RAV4 in disguise.
Specifically, it’s a RAV4 Prime—a plug-in hybrid aiming to muscle in on the (relatively) popular PHEV SUV segment that has been dominated lately by the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. But, despite some success (the Outlander PHEV alone drove 20 percent of the company’s sales in 2019), Mitsubishi is pulling the plug on Europe, leaving it to corporate partner Renault, and retreating to Asian markets.
That does leave an opportunity for Toyota and Suzuki to make inroads. Toyota already sells the RAV4 Hybrid in the market, and the PHEV is coming. Suzuki will have two rebadged Toyota models on offer, including the Swace—a Corolla Hybrid wagon. The Across closely mirrors the. Toyota’s look inside and out, save for its more aggressive face and bigger grille, which work surprisingly well on the recycled RAV4 body.
Perhaps in an alternate timeline, Suzuki stuck it out in the American market long enough to benefit, selling some Toyota models as Suzukis. Even without a dealer network, the company could conceivably provide Suzuki models for Toyota to sell as their own—an improbable but plausible path for the wonderful Jimny to be sold here. If anything, the Suzuki Across is yet another piece of evidence that Suzuki’s possible return to America isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem.