Which model COULD Suzuki reveal at its Auto Salon?

The Suzuki Auto Salon is coming but what potentially new machinery could the conspicuously quiet Japanese firm be waiting to reveal (if any...)

Suzuki SV650

Its been a busy 12 months of launches, road tests and previews across the industry, albeit one that has been very conspicuous in the absence of one major manufacturer: Suzuki.

One of the Japanese ‘big four’ and one of the few firms in the world to harness a healthy global market share on both two and four-wheels (together with Honda), Suzuki has nonetheless been playing very low key in recent years.

Indeed, since 2018 the only notable launches have been the anticipated-if-lukewarm received Katana reboot and the latest version of the 1050XT workhorse. In the meantime it has stolen all the headlines in motorsport with its incredible MotoGP title, yet found itself with no new machinery to promote off the back of it.

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That could all change on February 5 when it opens the virtual doors to its Auto Salon, which we assume is more checking out motorcycles than getting your hair did. Now, this hasn’t been billed as a launch space per se, more a way for potential customers to get a closer look and information on Suzuki models without needing to step outside during these COVID times.

However, it is scheduled around the time we’d normally have the Tokyo Auto Salon so it’s reasonable to assume Suzuki would go to some effort without having something up its sleeve to show. Which begs the question, what could be revealed?

Suzuki 2021: What we do know…

Truth be told, not a lot. The only new model we would stake our house on being revealed is a new Suzuki Burgman, this time running on EV power. Not terribly exciting perhaps, but in terms of volume this is a big seller for Suzuki in markets like India, which is increasingly harnessing the low-power EV approach, so don’t assume this wouldn’t form the basis for a razzmatazz type of launch.

We will no doubt see the men and women of the moment - Joan Mir, Alex Rins together with the Suzuki Ecstar crew - in attendance to celebrate Suzuki’s remarkable 2020 MotoGP achievement, its first title since 2000. We’re unlikely to see the 2021 GSX-RR just yet, but perhaps something special in relation to the roadgoing models beyond a tribute paint job.

Suzuki 2021: What we could (and want to) see

There is one model - or rather, platform - we know for a fact is in the works, but it isn’t clear how close we are to seeing the new parallel-twin 650 motorcycles in the flesh.

Indeed, we’ve been seeing various stages of patents dating back years now to the extent it isn’t clear if Suzuki is on the verge of revealing a new SV650 or V-Strom 650 (or would that be an S650 or Strom-650?) or still years away. Time has told us in the past that Suzuki doesn’t rush when it comes to developing new models, which is why the likes of the SV650, V-Strom and Hayabusa can trace their clear roots right back to the 90s.

Speaking of the Hayabusa, there are conflicting reports about whether the ultimate hypersport - still a record-breaker more than 20 years on - will ever be replaced given the modest numbers it sells and the image it nonetheless retains even today. Tightening emissions regulations have strangled its power in recent times, so Suzuki may feel compelled to leave the Hayabusa as an example of delicious excess of its time in that time period.

Then again, patents have again suggested one is in the works and designers have rendered all manner of potential models. We will have to see it to believe it, but we’re optimists…

Beyond that, Suzuki has produced some stellar concept machines over the time, such as the Nuda, Stratosphere and the Recursion, the latter of which was supposed to preview a new SV650… albeit back in 2014. Perhaps now is the time for Suzuki to wow us with another machine, even if it never really sees the light of day. 

In these tricky times, a bit of wild and ridiculous excess certainly wouldn’t go amiss now, would it?
 

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