TOKYO -- Small-car specialist Suzuki Motor Corp. is upping the ante in Japan’s minicar segment with plans to roll out its first new minicar engine in 16 years, according to a report.
The 0.66-liter engine will deliver fuel economy of 27 kilometers per liter, or 64 mpg, when combined with idle-stop technology, Japan’s Nikkei business daily reported this week.
That performance is a 20 percent improvement over Suzuki’s current engines, it said.
A more efficient small-displacement engine could have spillover effects for the company’s development of inexpensive cars for emerging markets and global small cars.
Suzuki feels pressure from new rivals in India and increased competition at home in the minicar market, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of Japanese passenger car sales.
Toyota said last year it will launch its own minicars in Japan for the first time.
Suzuki plans to spend 20 billion yen, or about $242.7 million, over three years to retool its Sagara factory to build the new engine.
The engine is expected to debut in Suzuki’s MR Wagon, the report said. Eventually it will become the standard engine in all of Suzuki’s minicars.