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Suzuki Motor has compact hybrid in works

Kyodo

Suzuki Motor Corp. said Wednesday it is developing a compact hybrid vehicle to meet growing demand for fuel-efficient cars in emerging countries.

The automaker also said it is developing gasoline engines with higher thermal efficiency to improve fuel economy by 20 to 30 percent compared to the current level by early 2020.

The planned compact will be the company’s first hybrid vehicle since it halted production of its Twin hybrid minivehicle, which it sold from 2003.

The move comes as hybrid vehicles have proved popular, with Toyota Motor Corp.’s Aqua and Prius taking the top two spots in Japan’s new car sales in fiscal 2013, which ended in March.

The company is developing a hybrid system dubbed Integrated Starter Generator, which regenerates energy as the vehicle decelerates.

As for gasoline-driven minivehicles with engine displacement of up to 660cc, Suzuki Managing Officer Masato Kasai said at a press conference in Tokyo that the company “is aiming to achieve a fuel efficiency of 40 km per liter (for the Alto model) by 2020 by combining (the improved engine) with other technologies.”

In 2013, Suzuki’s Alto and Mazda Motor Corp.’s Carol achieved the best fuel economy for gasoline-powered minicars in Japan with 35 km per liter, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.