Drive Type: 4x4
Newburgh, Indiana, United States
It had been planned for 2014 but it's going to be 2015 instead - that's when Suzuki returns to the manufacturer ranks of MotoGP after quitting the series at the end of 2011 because of The Great Recession. When Suzuki stopped after 37 continuous years of racing, it said it intended to return three years later and it has been in talks with MotoGP's rights holder, Dorna Sports, since last year. No doubt, though, that fan anticipation of the team's return outdoes any dismay at the delay. It will join Yamaha, Honda and Ducati in the premiere league.
Its bike has already been testing in Japan and was with the official MotoGP tribe in Barcelona, Spain on Monday when Suzuki announced its return. It's said the development bike is called the XRH-1, being ridden by official tester Randy de Puniet (who currently races in MotoGP on an Aprilia-based bike with TeamAspar). and after a day of testing de Puniet got the new Suzuki to within seven-tenths of a second of the top time posted by other MotoGP teams. Davide Brivio, who once ran the Fiat-Yamaha team and has been close with Valentino Rossi, will be the team manager.
Speaking of Rossi, The Doctor is back with Fiat-Yamaha after a bad run with Ducati but is only contracted to the end of 2014. Brivio is the man who got Rossi to join Fiat-Yamaha, then got him to Ducati. Until he took the head of Suzuki's works effort, Brivio was working with Rossi's VR46 management company, heading areas like merchandising. The rumormill has already begun its work, with folks wondering if Rossi will head to Suzuki in 2015 if his second stint at Yamaha doesn't prove fruitful before then. Scroll down below for the official press release from Suzuki.
American Suzuki is continuing to offer buyers substantial incentives even as the company winds down operations. Those looking to nab a new Suzuki vehicle will find rebates of between $500 and $2,000 and zero-percent financing for up to 72 months as dealers look to liquidate inventory following the automaker's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. The strategy is working so far. Last month saw Suzuki sell a total of 2,224 vehicles, up 22 percent compared to the same time period in 2011. The Japanese manufacturer says it will continue the incentives through December.
Suzuki had around 5,000 units in dealer inventory in the US when it went into bankruptcy protection, with an additional 1,500-1,700 vehicles headed to dealers at that time. The company says it will continue to honor warranties moving forward using its current dealer network. Most of the dealerships will become Suzuki service and parts stores after American Suzuki shutters car sales in the US.
Suzuki may not be selling any new cars in the US anymore, but there are still plenty of them on American roads. Nearly 200,000 of those will need to be taken off said roads - for a little while, at least.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall for 2006-2011 Suzuki Grand Vitara SUVs and 2007-2011 SX4 crossovers due to a faulty airbag sensor. The issue apparently results from the front passenger-side floor mat causing the Occupant Classification System (OCS) sensor to malfunction over time, so whether there's a kid or an adult in the front seat, the airbag could deploy in the event of a crash.
As a result, Suzuki Motor of America is calling in 193,936 vehicles to replace the front passenger-seat cushion assembly. That's a whole lot of cars to recall, but it comes as no big surprise. Owners can expect to be notified in October. Full details in the recall announcement below.