Suzuki has a successful line as Suzuki Jimny of SUVs which was started in 1968 and is still going strong.
Four wheel drive cars of Suzuki go back to the history of 1968. Hope Motor Company which was the former automaker of Japanese was bought by Suzuki that had made around fifteen small off-road vehicles known as the Hope Star ON360. Then the 4×4 real Suzuki was first made in 1970, that was known as the LJ10 having an engine of 359 cc with the air cooled two-stroke, in-line two-cylinder. LJ20 was started in 1972 and because of the newly started emission regulations the cooling was changed to water cooling from the air cooling system and thus gained 3 hp. Suzuki complemented the LJ20 with the LJ50 in 1975, having a larger two-stroke, in-line three-cylinder engine of air cooled 539 cc and bigger differentials. Australian market was majorly targeting this but soon more of exports started following.
With a four-stroke, in-line four-cylinder engine of 800 cc, LJ50 was updated by the new version Jimny8/LJ80, followed by the Jimny 1000/SJ410 and Jimny 1300/SJ413. Samurai became the first updated version of SJ413 being marketed in US on official terms. In Australia, the series from SJ410 to SJ413 was called Sierra and in some markets was known as Jimny.
In 1998, new Jimny was released and even bears the similar name overall. This used the engine of the G13BB EFI, which was taken over by the engine of M13AA EFI around 2001 and in 2005 by M13AA VVT engine, along with little modification in the inner side.
In 1967, Hope Motor Company has originally developed this one in Japan and from April 1968 was sold knowingly as the HopeStar ON360. The engine of Mitsubishi 359 cc (21.9 cu in) air-cooled 2-stroke ME24 was produced that created 21 PS (15.4 kW). Rear axle was taken of Mitsubishi Colt 1000 and wheels of Mitsubishi Jeep. This was a simple and a sturdy vehicle with no doors but a system of four wheel drive allowing it to go everywhere. Maximum speed was 70 km/h (43 mph), 30 km/h in 4WD mode. Since small Hope was not able to make good sales (less than fifteen, though around although 100 ME24 engines were purchased) , it sold off the plan in 1968 to Suzuki as Mitsubishi rejected to take over.
The Jimny came with good features like the excellent visibility, large windows, other than the serious blind spot happened because of the “B” pillar being oversized. Greenhouse effect is also created due to the huge glass and it comes with a standard feature of air conditioning in few regions.
Hard top version came in JX and canvas top version came in JLX in Europe. These two are fairly standard designations in the overall Suzuki off road range, as JLX known as the complete optioned “luxury” version. In Jimny’s case, power steering, roof rails, adjustable mirrors on electronic base, power windows and few more other improvements for comfort. Automatic gearbox of 4 speeds or 5 speed manual are available in both the models and even a 2WD option that comes only as a 5 speed manual.
In Spain, Santana Motor had stopped the work with Suzuki in 2009 in order to create the canvas top version, which is now not available any more. Since, Santana motor filed for bankruptcy in 2011, Souza Ramos Group who used to manufacture Mitsubishi cars in Brasil under license will now start the work of making Suzuki Jimny in Brasil in 2012 in order to come up with the past losses but not sure whether even the production of Canvas Top version will take place in Brasil. In few countries as Spain, Suzuki is no more supporting the Santana Motor production since 2009, claiming that they are not theirs though it had the Suzuki brand and were even sold by them. Thus, Jimny’s Canvas Top version is neglected by Suzuki and likewise no other companies in Spain is supporting especially after the Santana’s case.
Since 2007, as in Japan, Jimny’s known as the Jimny Sierra in Australia majorly because of the name meaning small capable off road vehicles. In Bogotá, Colombia, 1.3-litre, 79 hp (59 kW) JB33 is getting assembled by GM Colmotores since 1999, knowing as “Chevrolet Jimny”, also available in Singapore as grey-import.