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Brake concerns force Suzuki Celerio delay

Suspended: Suzuki’s Celerio micro hatch was pulled from Australian showrooms just as it was being launched this week.

UK brake failure report halts Australian Suzuki Celerio launch at last minute

4 Feb 2015

SUZUKI Australia might be without an entry level model for weeks or even months after its all-new Celerio micro hatch launch was out on ice on the eve of its Australian debut today.

The stop-sale order came as Suzuki investigates reports of brake failure on two test cars in high-speed braking tests by motoring magazines in the United Kingdom.

Some Celerio stock has already arrived in dealerships in Australia in readiness for the sales launch today, but Suzuki Australia ordered those cars to be kept in storage and out of customer hands until the matter is sorted.

Suzuki Australia automobile general manager Andrew Moore released a brief statement saying that in light of recent issues in the UK, Suzuki would postpone the on-sale date of Celerio that was due in showrooms on February 4.

“Suzuki Australia places safety as a top priority and will not begin selling Celerio in Australia until we are comfortable any possible issues are rectified,” he said.

Mr Moore told GoAuto that “a handful” of Celerios had been trucked to dealerships in Australia where the new Thai-built hatchback replaces the Indian-built Alto in the micro car segment.

He said it was unclear how long the sales postponement would last or what action would be taken to fix a potential problem with the cars.

The Celerio setback came just a day after Suzuki announced it had enjoyed a 40 per cent increase in January sales over the same month last year, thanks to its fast-start 2014 plate clearance sale.

The 1608 sales in January included 133 run-out Altos – the same as January last year.

Mr Moore said Suzuki dealers still had about “50 odd” Altos left in stock, which he said would last only a couple of weeks.

The Celerio has been suspended from sale in the UK after Autocar and What Car? magazines experienced two cases of brake failure in a test car driven by a journalist at Millbrook Proving Ground on January 30.

Suzuki GB later released a statement saying: “With reference to the condition experienced when carrying out an emergency braking test by a journalist from Autocar magazine on January 30, Suzuki is carrying out an immediate investigation into the cause of this condition.

"The condition was experienced during an emergency brake test from very high speed and relates to retraction of the brake pedal."According to Autocar, the test involved an emergency brake stop from 80mph (129/kmh), during which the brake pedal “lost all stopping power”, with the brake pedal going to the floor and becoming stuck there.

The driver reported used the handbrake and engine braking to stop the vehicle.

Although Suzuki supplied a replacement car after trucking the original test car away for inspection, the same brake failure occurred on the second vehicle.

The Celerio has been on sale in India and Thailand since last year, with no brake failures reported.

The UK cars are built at Suzuki’s Rayong plant in Thailand – the same plant that supplies Australia.

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