Suzuki is recalling 46,549 2006 model year Grand Vitara (shown) and 2005-2006 XL-7 SUVs for a potentially defective hydraulic power assist steering pump. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the defect involves a plastic tension adjuster pulley for the drive belt that operates the steering pump and A/C compressor. Heat stress can apparently cause said plastic to deteriorate over time, which could lead to pieces of the pulley breaking off. The broken pieces can get lodged
According to Automotive News, Suzuki has elected to halt production of its only North American-built model, the slow-selling three-row XL7 crossover. Blaming the nation's subprime loan crisis, Suzuki spokesman Hideo Kojima has confirmed that no additional examples of the America-only model will roll off out of General Motors' CAMI joint-venture facility in Ingersoll, Ontario. The plant is still operational, however, continuing to produce other GM vehicles for the remainder of the model year.
2010 is going to landmark year for automakers. General Motors plans to roll out its first commercial fuel cell vehicles by decade's end, while Chrysler may debut the Imperial. Hyundai plans to be one of the world's top five automakers by then, though its current leadership shake up may temporarily send it roadside.
GM liquidating its relationship with Suzuki may turn out to be the best thing that could happen to the eastern automaker. Many Suzuki models owe their lives to other GM products, including the new XL-7 that's based on GM's Theta platform, but the company will be branching out on its own with vehicles like the SX4 that debuted on this continent in New York and is reportedly going to enter WRC competition next year. There also plans to bring back the Swift, which has evolved into a highly regarded