Suzuki Motor Corp. will spotlight what it calls its "unparalleled expertise" in small cars at the Tokyo Motor Show with two new tiny concept cars and the world premiere of a Swift electric vehicle with a range-extending engine similar in design to the Chevrolet Volt.
The so-called Swift EV Hybrid concept is based on the Japan-made Swift small car, which was once planned for the United States but was put on hold when the yen's rise against the dollar made exporting the car to the United States an unprofitable proposition.
The car runs on electric power for about 11 miles. When the battery runs down, a gasoline-powered engine generator kicks in to recharge it. The engine does not directly power the wheels.
The Swift EV Hybrid follows the Swift Plug-in Hybrid concept that debuted in 2009. That vehicle drew on both the engine and the battery to power the wheels.
That concept never made it to showrooms. Suzuki is still seeking a market entry with an electrified drivetrain.
Suzuki had hoped to use its partnership with Volkswagen AG for help with hybrids. But Suzuki says it wants to end the arrangement. That leaves Suzuki as the only one of Japan's big seven automakers without firm plans to launch a hybrid or an electric vehicle.
Suzuki also plans to introduce two minicars.
The first, the Regina, embodies its concept for its next-generation global small car. It weighs only 1,609 pounds and achieves 75 mpg under Japanese testing cycles, which are not comparable to U.S. mpg ratings.
The other is a bubble-shaped two-seater called the Q-concept. Suzuki says the vehicle is positioned between a motorcycle and an automobile and is meant for short urban commutes.