Drive Type: 4x4
Newburgh, Indiana, United States
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.
Spiders seem to love the fuel tanks of Japanese sedans. Mazda had to recall its Mazda6 twice for arachnid webs blocking their car's vent lines. Now, the Suzuki Kizashi is also being called in because spiders can block the car's evaporative canister vent hose, a condition which could cause excessive negative pressure in the tank, eventually leading to a crack and fuel leak. The campaign covers about 19,249 examples of the 2010-2013 model year Kizashi built from October 2009 through July 2012.
According to the automaker's defect notice released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the first report of a spiderweb blocking a vent line was in 2011. It began monitoring field data and found six more incidents from 2011 to 2013. In 2014, there was one more case, and with further investigation, Suzuki decided to initiate a recall. There are no reports of accidents or injuries of the webs causing accidents or injuries in the US.
In a similar move to Mazda, Suzuki is replacing the evaporative canister vent line with one that has a filter in place to keep the spiders out. Also, if the lines are obstructed by webs in a specific vehicle, the fuel tank will also get swapped. Scroll down to read the full recall announcement from NHTSA.
Looks can certainly be deceiving. Have a glance at this new Suzuki Authentics concept, for example - we were told that this would, essentially, be a proper sedan version of the new SX4, but our folks on the ground in Shanghai tell us it's actually much larger. Like, bigger than the Kizashi. (Hey, remember the Kizashi?)
Regardless, Suzuki says that the Authentics concept previews a C-segment vehicle for the Chinese market. A good move, too, since that segment has the highest volume in the Chinese market. (That's why automakers like Ford, for example, have more than one offering in the class.) If we're honest, the Authentics concept looks a bit "meh" for our tastes - there isn't a whole lot of emotion going on here with the design. Consider it a competitor for that spiffy new Ford Escort that also took the stage here in Shanghai.
We don't have any more details about the Authentics concept at the moment, but considering the fact that Suzuki has officially exited the US market, at least we don't have to worry about this thing showing up on our shores anytime soon.