Our Cars: Suzuki Swift 1.2

16 March 2012: Where does the Swift come from?

The Details

Current mileage 2234
Claimed economy 56.5mpg
Average economy 46.3mpg

If you decide to order a Swift then you’ll turn up at the showroom, have a test drive, spend some time choosing the trim and then you’ll wait a while. After a month or two it should arrive at the dealership and voila, off you’ll go into the sunset feeling happy with yourself.

But what happens between signing all the forms and the car turning up? Where is it made and how does it get here? Despite the fact Suzuki is a Japanese brand, European Swift models are produced at a plant in Hungary. There are also factories in Asia but they produce cars for the Asian market in slightly different trim levels.

Once the factory receives the order sheet for your car, which will include the colour, trim level and any factory fitted options, they’ll get to work. Production starts with bare metal, which is stamped and welded by machines.

Robots don’t do all of the work though – some of the assembly is carried out by humans. Things like trimming, routing wires and final checks are all carried out by factory workers. Not all of the car is built in Hungary, either – some components are brought into the country pre-assembled, including the engine, which is still made in Japan.

View Car factories of the world in a larger map

Once the car is complete it’s taken on a quick run to make sure it’s been screwed together properly and that it goes around corners, stops and starts. Then it ends up in a giant car park where it waits to be loaded onto a transporter and taken on the long trip to the UK.

If you’ve picked some fancy wheels, a spoiler, a body kit or one of various other options from the accessories book, they probably won’t be fitted at the factory.  Most of the Suzuki Swift extras are ‘dealer fit,’ and are installed at the dealership – so even when your car is in the country it might not be finished.

Suzuki Plant

Once all of those are screwed on the car is checked, registered, taxed and has its numberplates fitted. It will probably be given a good buff up too. Then you’ll get the exciting call to you let you know it’s ready!

It’s quite a long process and there are lots of steps along the way, so it’s easy to see why it might take some time to get the car you’ve ordered. You might be lucky, though – sometimes the car you want will be in stock in the UK, either because of a cancelled order or because it’s a popular choice, and this cuts down waiting times. 

What’s good

The Economy: The warmer weather has brought a gradual improvement in average fuel economy. 

And what’s not

Where's sixth?: Having spent a lot of time on the motorway lately it's slightly annoying that there's no sixth gear. It'd improve fuel economy and make it quieter. 

« Earlier: Where has the Swift been?     Later: A potted history »

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