RAC Cars News


Brake Failure Resolved On Suzuki Celerio

By raccars Published

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Suzuki experienced possibly the worst car launch ever this month, when its new Celerio city car had to be withdrawn from sale the very next day, after its arrival on the UK market. The cause was a potential brake failure issue detected by an Autocar journalist during testing at Bedfordshire's Millbrook Proving Grounds.

The first high speed emergency braking test failed, with the journalist behind the wheel reporting that the brake pedal got stuck at the bottom and failed to reduce the car's speed, even when manipulated back to its original position and pressed again. The magazine contacted Suzuki, which provided a replacement tester Celerio, only for the same to happen. The company immediately suspended sales of the vehicle and recalled all customer models to investigate.

The cause of the fault has now been revealed as an oversensitive safety mechanism. The system retracts the brake pedal when it detects a crash in order to avoid injury to drivers. However, the high speed braking test had the effect of mimicking crash conditions, causing the pedal to retract prematurely. Suzuki is now fitting new brake assemblies to affected vehicles, with only 40 customers affected by the fault. The same repairs are taking place on demonstration vehicles in dealerships and unsold models. Fortunately, no accidents or injuries were reported as a result of the problem.

The incident only affected right hand drive models, leading to the recall of Celerios in Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. Left hand drive Celerios from other markets were not part of the recall.

Suzuki has rather optimistically claimed that it doesn't expect the issue to affect sales of the Celerio. The firm has effectively suspended Celerio marketing for six weeks, including withdrawing advertising, and admits that the incident has been expensive and embarrassing. Suzuki reports that the launch was otherwise going well, with 1,000 Celerios ordered, pre-launch.

Fortunately, February is usually a slow month for new sales with many customers preferring to wait for the arrival of new registration plates in March, so fewer Celerios had been delivered to customers than might otherwise have been the case. Suzuki claims that the car buying public is mature and understanding enough to accept that these problems can happen, and that few people will be put off buying a Celerio as a result. All repairs should be complete by the beginning of March, when the firm will need to relaunch its new city car and hope that car buyers are as forgiving as it believes they are.

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