During independent Autocar and What Car? testing, two Celerios experienced complete brake failure during an emergency stop
Suzuki has identified an issue with the brake pedal release mechanism and issued revised components for customer vehicles to its dealer network. The work to fit the new part takes 30 minutes to complete.
In an update on the investigation, a Suzuki spokesperson told Autocar: “We have a solution to the problem. It has been worked on within Suzuki Motor Corporation; this is its answer.”
"Safety is of the utmost importance to Suzuki and its expects to return vehicles to customers as soon as is possible," the company said in a statement.
Suzuki’s attention was drawn to the problem following independent Autocar and What Car? testing of its new budget hatchback on 30 January.
During an emergency stop test from 80mph under controlled conditions at Millbrook Proving Ground, the Celerio’s brakes failed entirely, with the brake pedal remaining in the fully depressed position yet having no effect on the car’s speed.
Suzuki promptly arranged for collection and inspection of the failed car and also supplied a second so that testing could continue. The second car displayed the same failure, however, and the matter was quickly escalated within the company.
It is understood that the failure is within the brake pedal assembly and that the affected part is only fitted to right-hand-drive Celerios sold in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
After Autocar reported the failures to Suzuki, Celerio sales were suspended in the UK and Republic of Ireland with immediate effect, and all customers advised not to drive their cars after the failures. Sales of Celerio models have now resumed.
“With regards to UK cars, we established that 37 had left dealers. We captured them very quickly and they are all off the road,” noted the spokesperson. “We also halted all dealer demonstrations and other related events.”
Both Suzuki GB and representatives from Suzuki Motor Corporation in Japan – who flew to the UK following the incidents – were involved in the investigations.
“Suzuki wants to be completely transparent and show it has reacted as quickly as possible to the problem. Suzuki wants to get it fixed and get customers back in their cars,” said the spokesperson. “This problem has 100 per cent of our attention. Suzuki Motor Corporation is keen to show its honesty and how it has fixed the problem."
In order to provide the most accurate results for Autocar and What Car? group tests and road tests, cars are put through measured trials at the Millbrook Proving Ground. This allows the reviewers to accurately ascertain and compare the performance and handling characteristics of cars in controlled conditions.
One section of this test is an emergency stop, carried out from 80mph. This allows for assessment of the car's behaviour during heavy braking, the functionality of its stability systems and the stopping distance and time itself.
Several acceleration tests had been carried out on the first Suzuki Celerio, which had been driven to Millbrook from a press event the day before, prior to the 80mph emergency braking test. Ahead of that test a more gentle braking assessment had been completed successfully, in order to assess the surface conditions and general behaviour of the vehicle.
During the first full-force braking test, however, all stopping power was immediately lost upon application of the brakes. The brake pedal became stuck in the fully depressed position and had no effect on the Suzuki's speed. No braking effort could be exerted by forcing the pedal up and reapplying it.
The combined use of the handbrake and engine braking allowed for controlled deceleration of the Celerio to a safe stop. Suzuki immediately arranged for collection of the car in order to inspect it and identify the nature of the failure.
The company also delivered a second Celerio, in order for pre-arranged testing to continue. The same test resulted in the failure repeating itself, culminating in a complete inability to slow the car in a conventional fashion.
Right-hand-drive cars sold in India and Thailand are not affected by the problem, Suzuki has confirmed.
"The Celerio model has been on sale in India and Thailand since 2014 and so far Suzuki has no prior experience or knowledge of this phenomenon," concluded the official release.
The Suzuki Celerio was originally revealed at the Delhi motor show in early 2014. It made its European debut at the Geneva motor show in March 2014. Indian-market Celerios are built at the Maruti Suzuki plant in India; the UK versions are made in the Rayang plant in Thailand.
Previously the car was awarded three stars in Euro NCAP crash testing. That test did not account for curtain airbags, however, which are fitted as standard in the UK model and could have bolstered its score.
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