Suzuki’s Grand Vitara is far and away the most popular car to flat-tow behind a motorhome. However, Suzuki stopped importing them into Australia at the beginning of 2019 and this has created much confusion.
Central to the Grand Vitara’s appeal was the ability to flat-tow models with an automatic transmission (in addition to manuals). Along with certain Jeep models, they were about the only ‘auto’ flat-towing option.
Subsequently, there has been much confusion and misinformation amongst Suzuki sales staff, who have been saying only Grand Vitaras could be flat-towed. That’s despite the fact people have been flat-towing manual gearbox Suzukis of various models for 15 years. The result is buyers are being told Suzuki won’t honour new-vehicle warranties if any post-Grand Vitara models are flat-towed. That's assuming buyers tell salespeople what the car is going to be used for, or that sales people ask. It seems most aren't being told any of this unless they go to the Suzuki Hotline – 1800777088 – which has more information.
To make matters worse, Suzuki has two separate operations in Australia, with Queensland being independent of the rest of the country. Mark Blyton, Managing Director of Northcoach RV Equipment in Brisbane – an expert specialising in all things flat-towing – has been negotiating for months with the general managers of both Suzuki operations to clarify and remedy the situation.
“As I said to both GMs, it’s ridiculous. What happens if someone’s windscreen wiper stops working? Are you going to say because the car was being flat-towed you won’t fix it?”, Mark asked.
Mark went on to report that the Queensland operation immediately got onboard, issuing a bulletin to all dealers telling staff that warranties won't be affected unless flat-towing has specifically caused the issue.
“Given that in 15 years that has never happened, this isn't going to affect anyone,” Mark commented. “They also advised that many of their manual cars can be flat-towed.”
However, Michael Pacha, General Manager Automobile for Suzuki in the rest of Australia, has advised Mark that following a review by his technical team, their position still stands – no Suzuki in the current range can be flat-towed.
It seems absurd a unified national policy on this can't easily be agreed and implemented. In the meantime, potential Suzuki buyers are left with the choice of either sourcing a pre-2019 cut-off Grand Vitara or buying a new manual Suzuki in Queensland to ensure warranty coverage.