Drive Type: 4x4
Newburgh, Indiana, United States
The Detroit News is reporting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation on the 2006-11 Suzuki Grand Vitara and 2007-11 Suzuki SX4 due to issues with the airbag and seatbelt for the front passenger seat. So far, NHTSA has received 128 complaints on these vehicles for airbag warning lights, airbag off lights and seatbelt lights, on a vehicle set that totals around 205,000 units, but there is no indication as to how many, if any, injuries have reported.
Via technical service bulletins, Suzuki has already acknowledged two airbag-related issues with front passenger seats on both vehicles, including a programming error for the passenger seat load indicator on 2009 models and an open-circuit problem for the sensor mat that determines if an adult or child is sitting in the front seat. Since this latter issue would not shut off or lessen the impact of the passenger airbag, Suzuki has already extended the warranty for the seat cushion bottom to 10 years or 120,000 miles. After ceasing new-car sales in the US and Canada, potential recall repairs (which still may or may not happen) would be handled by remaining dealers as laid out in the recent court-approved bankruptcy plan.
Suzuki may be retreating (amidst booming sales) from the US market, but its efforts to woo European buyers are still going strong. Witness as proof these shadowy teaser images of the automaker's new C-segment crossover that it plans to unveil at the Geneva Motor Show next month.
Until the official debut, we've got just a few tidbits of information to report about the upcoming Suzuki. We're told, and can see, that the car has been modeled on the S-Cross concept car from the 2012 Paris Motor Show. Quite a bit of translation has happened, however, from show car to production form, as we see that the sweeping greenhouse of the S-Cross has been ditched in favor of a traditional pillared setup, large LEDs have moved from the lower front fascia to under the headlamps, and the grille is now much more in line with the rest of Suzuki's current range. The crossover is still painted in a faintly froggish shade of green, though, so the weirdness hasn't been completely leeched out.
We're also informed that the new C-segment offering will have an available a four-wheel-drive powertrain and one of the largest luggage areas in the segment. All of which strikes us as good stuff, but we're still not convinced that this unnamed entrant could have turned the Japanese automaker's fortunes in North America - even if it would have competed in one of the industry's fastest-growing segments. Feel free to read over Suzuki's brief press release below and look at the images before speculating for yourself in Comments.
Suzuki's plant in Manesar, India builds cars for Australia, specifically its Alto small car. Or at least they were building cars before violent worker riots forced the factory to close. The plant has been idled for five weeks as a result of worker violence that led to the death of one manager and 95 injuries. The riot was spurred over a labor dispute - specifically, a gulf in salaries between temporary workers and their salaried counterparts who earn triple the contract workers' wages.
According to reports, on Tuesday, the factory re-opened with more than 1,200 police officers stationed around the plant. The staff of actual workers at the plant numbers just 75 currently, meaning the police force greatly outnumbers Suzuki employees.
The number of employees will eventually grow to 300, and the officers will run in shifts of 100 at a time, but the initial disparity of workers to police is meant as a show of force to the more than 500 permanent and 500 temporary workers who were found to be involved in a July 18 riot.