Two Japanese giants get cleaner and greener as a part of Thai Eco Car Project. On one end is the Suzuki Swift hatchback, and on the other is Toyota Etios.
But these are no ordinary vehicles in terms of design, platform and performance; they have been built as a part of Thai Eco Car project. It is a project launched by Thailand government in an attempt to reduce the fuel import bills by building more fuel-efficient cars. In return, the Thai government offers manufacturers tax benefits, lower excise duty and an option to export a part of the production from the Thai Eco Car project.
Criterion set for being Thai Eco Car is that the vehicle should deliver
– 20kmpl fuel economy.
– 120g/km of CO2 emission.
– the manufacturer should locally manufacture the car with a minimum investment of $150 Million.
– produce a min of 10,000 cars from the 5th year of production.
The Maruti Suzuki Swift hatch was launched in India last year and became an instant success. Whereas, Thailand will receive this car toward the end of March, 2012. For the record, Honda Brio and Nissan Micra are already a part of this project and have commenced the building of the cars. Powering the Suzuki hatch is a 1.2-litre K-series gasoline engine, that pumps out 91 bhp of peak power and 119 Nm of peak torque. The reason for the higher power than the Indian Swift is the dual variable valve timing technology featured in the K-series engine.
However, the biggest change in terms of performance of the Swift is the new transmission system. Featured earlier in Honda City, the Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT), will drive the power from the flywheel to the axle of the Swift hatch. This transmission will replace the 5-speed manual gearbox that features in India. The Suzuki Swift CVT is notorious for utterly poor fuel efficiency and ugly emission figures, however, the Suzuki Swift is expected to deliver 20kmpl with 120g/km CO2 emission. For the improved fuel economy, Swift employed new tyres, with specs as 185/55 16.
Joining the race with Honda, Suzuki and Nissan is Toyota with its Etios hatch. With the success of Etios in India, Toyota plans to expand its foothold in other parts of the globe, including South Africa and Brazil. While the Etios barely qualifies for the EcoCar project with its Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) certified 18.3 kmpl fuel economy, it has room for improvement on the petrol engine. Moreover, it can borrow the diesel motor from the Etios sedan sold in India.