"We have no comment on the Jimny or Suzuki returning to the U.S. market," says Nathalie Geslin, a spokesperson for Suzuki in France, from the floor of the Paris Motor Show, where the adorable Jimny made its recent premiere. "For that you'll have to ask Suzuki headquarters in Japan." In France, this is what is known as Le Brushoff.
Geslin did confirm that, in the markets around the world where the Jimny will appear, it will be available only in one spec: an adaptable, RWD/AWD, closed hardtop with a manual transmission with available Low range, and powered by a 102-horsepower 1.5-liter gasoline engine. "Suzuki has eliminated diesel motors from their whole range," she said, a notable move and a trend flowing from the fuel's immutable high particulate and noxious gas emissions, and growing global sensitivity to their effects.
Actually, she tells us, there will be one other spec. "In the Japanese market, there will be a Kei Car version, an actual smaller Kei Car, which means it will be powered by a motor of less than 600cc."
Just 1,500 of these cars are expected to be sold in the French market, mainly to people who, according to Geslin, are not off-reading aficionados, but "People who go off-roading in their normal life, who live in the mountains or work in an area with rugged conditions."
This sounds to us like a description of every small-scale goat cheese producer in the White Mountains in rural Vermont, every boutique mountainside vintner in Sonoma county, every yellow micro-beet farmer in the Wisconsin Dells. And all of us who live in four-season climates and love the outdoors but think a Jeep is perfect except that it's a third too large.
Like the Jeep, the Jimny is retro cool without being retro. It is just itself. And we need it. If it takes only 1,500 potential buyers in France to allow it to be sold there, how many does that translate to in America? If all of us start emailing Suzuki headquarters every day to beg for it, maybe we can find out.