RAC Cars News


Suzuki Celerio Makes Disastrous Debut

By raccars Published

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Suzuki has suffered an appalling February, after being forced to suspend sales of its brand new Celerio city car only one day after it went on sale. The five door hatchback Celerio's official market release on 1 February was reversed and a recall implemented, after road testing by Autocar magazine resulted in complete brake failure.

The brake failure incident occurred twice during a high speed braking test on 30 January at Bedfordshire's Millbrook Proving Ground. A number of lower speed braking tests were accomplished successfully, but when the Autocar driver, journalist, Lewis Kingston, attempted an emergency brake test at 80mph, the driver suffered a complete loss of stopping power. Furthermore, the brake pedal was stuck at the bottom of its sweep. The driver manipulated the brake pedal back to the starting position and re-applied a number of times, which was completely ineffective against the Celerio's speed.

Autocar contacted Suzuki, which collected the car and replaced it with another model, only for exactly the same failure to occur on high speed braking. Suzuki immediately suspended all sales of the new city car and issued a recall notice to UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australian right hand drive Celerio owners, while carrying out investigations. Those affected have been issued with loan cars while the safety checks take place.

The company has since said that it believes the brake failure was caused by a faulty release mechanism in the brake pedal. Suzuki has come up with a solution to the problem and is awaiting the arrival of new components. Sales of the Celerio remain suspended and Suzuki has apologised for any inconvenience.

However, the issue is surely more inconvenient for Suzuki itself than the car owners, as it's hard to imagine a worse start in publicity terms for a new car. No doubt the firm will ensure any safety issues are fully rectified before the Celerio becomes available again, but will have a hard time convincing the public that the car is safe to drive. Such an issue could be a disaster in such a competitive market sector, even though all signs point to the Celerio being an otherwise very competent car.

The Celerio is manufactured in India and Thailand, with the affected right hand drive cars coming from the Thai facility in Rayong Province. The Celerio has been available in left hand format in international markets for about a year, with no brake failure incidents having been reported elsewhere.

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