The Suzuki Jimny is a massive hit in South Africa, as evidenced by the fact that 20,322 examples have been sold to local customers in the last 15 years.
A fan-favourite vehicle around the world, the Jimny is a popular choice for people from all walks of life owing to its affordable price tag that grants access to a capable mini off-roader that can do an admirable job of keeping up with the heavy hitters of the 4×4 world.
The Japanese company is currently celebrating the more than 50 years of history behind its iconic SUV – a milestone that has been capped off with the recent launch of the long-awaited five-door model in South Africa.
An icon of 4×4
In 1968, Suzuki purchased a bankrupt Japanese automaker by the name of Hope Motor Company, which had developed a small vehicle meant for overlanding called the HopeStar ON360.
While only 45 of these were produced before the manufacturer shut down, Suzuki saw an opportunity and used the framework of the HopeStar to develop its first four-wheel-drive vehicle, the LJ10 (Light Jeep 10), which came out in 1970.
Developing the LJ series is what ultimately led to the creation of the first Jimny, launching in 1974 in its distinctive three-door guise and remaining on the market until 1981, with a mid-life update in 1977.
Since then, the Jimny has gone through four generations with the second coming out in 1982, the third in 1998, and the fourth in 2018, with occasional facelifts sprinkled in between to keep the car fresh for audiences at the time.
It was the third generation when the nameplate really began to take off and earn the reputation the Suzuki is known for today, as proven by its 20-year run on the global stage with relatively few changes made to it during that time.
South Africa is of course one of the markets where the Jimny found a home, with hundreds of owners of all generations prepared to attend a festival in its honour out in the Free State, setting a Guinness World Record in the process.
During the media launch of the new five-door models, the carmaker’s local division confirmed that it has sold a grand total of 20,322 units here in the last 15 years, which works out to an average of 3.7 Jimnys finding a new owner every day for the last decade and a half.
Even more interesting is that 45% of these sales were for the third generation, which moved 9,232 units between 2008 and the end of its run in 2018.
The newest generation, in contrast, has sent 11,090 units off the showroom floor since its debut in 2018, translating to 55% of the model’s total sales over the measured period despite only being around for half the time.
It speaks to how popular the SUV has been up till now, but it also shows how demand for the car has effectively doubled in more recent times, with Suzuki noting that it is out-competing the Jeep Wrangler and Land Rover Defender by a margin of 65% and 100% respectively, despite supply shortages and the lack of a five-door variant till this point.
The Suzuki Jimny is currently available in South Africa in seven derivatives with prices ranging from R390,900 to R479,900, with all units sharing the same 1.5-litre petrol engine and an AllGrip part-time 4×4 system.
Keyword: How many Suzuki Jimnys were sold in South Africa in the last 15 years