|July 2004 NEWS UPDATE:
Suzuki and Consumers Union Agree on Dismissal of Lawsuit
We want to thank our readers who have supported Consumers Union throughout the course of this litigation. The case has been dismissed by joint agreement, and it cannot be re-filed. We no longer suggest that you write to Suzuki or General Motors about the case. CU continues to stand fully behind its testing and report on the Samurai, has issued no retraction or correction, and has paid nothing to Suzuki. Click on this link to see the full text of the Joint Public Statement announcing the resolution of the case.
A U.S. District Court judge in California has dismissed Suzuki Motor Corp.'s lawsuit against Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, after both sides agreed to disagree about a CU test. At issue was a road test of the Suzuki Samarai sport-utility vehicle that led to a "Not Acceptable" rating in Consumer Reports.
The test findings, published in the July 1988 issue, indicated that the Samarai tipped severely in CU's short-course emergency avoidance maneuver, which simulates the path a driver may take to avoid, say, a child who runs into the road. A timeline in the magazine in January 1996, commemorating CU's 60th anniversary, reprised the 1988 findings. Suzuki sued after the timeline was published, claiming product disparagement.
The settlement agreement reached by Suzuki and CU in July 2004 makes it clear that Suzuki continues to dispute the validity of CU's short-course test, and CU stands by its test protocol and findings. CU will pay no money to Suzuki.
"The testing and reporting done by our staff were exemplary," said R. David Pittle, CU's senior vice president for technical policy. "This settlement continues our 68-year history of never having lost a lawsuit challenging our published research, and never settling such lawsuits by paying money or retracting our findings."
Said Cam Smith Arnold, Suzuki's vice president of communications, "We're happy to wipe the slate clean and put this behind us and move forward."
View the joint statement of CU and Suzuki.