On Tuesday, January 7, we posted the above photo on our Facebook page. The photo was sent to us by one Gebrien Pasion. In case you don't understand Filipino, the messages plastered on the Suzuki Alto 800 read: "This car is brand-new but defective. Suzuki won't replace the unit even if the transmission is shuddering, the horn is dead, and the body has static electricity. Suzuki really is no good. Don't buy Suzuki if you don't want to have a headache."
In other words, the car's owner is a disgruntled customer who believes his car is a lemon--and one who thinks that the only way to get back at the Japanese manufacturer of his vehicle is to publicly embarrass the brand.
Obviously, this is a very strong accusation, and many of our Facebook followers naturally gravitated to it. As we write this, the photo has been viewed 711,168 times, liked by 8,746 people and shared by 3,229. It has also collected 1,227 comments. Talk about going viral.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before Suzuki Philippines took notice. Indeed, the carmaker has and is now asking for an equal opportunity to air its side of the story. Here, then, is the company's official statement on the matter, published here unedited and unaltered:
The incident concerning the Alto 800 unit purchased by Mr. Roderick Gabrillo has come to our attention and is already being addressed. When the issue with the unit's horn was first raised by the owner last November 2013, our Suzuki Auto Shaw dealership immediately took action and tested the unit pursuant to the guidelines stipulated in the warranty.
Other concerns were raised by the customer thereafter and the management of the dealership proposed that the unit be left at the service center for further testing and evaluation. The customer agreed to leave the car at the service center provided that a loaner will be issued to him. Due to certain standard operating procedures that must be observed, the service unit/loaner requested by the customer was not given immediately by the Suzuki Auto Shaw dealership.
Suzuki Philippines Inc., in line with the commitment to provide quality services to our customers, is conducting further investigation in this issue to be able to implement appropriate actions. To facilitate the proper testing of Mr. Gabrillo's Alto 800, Suzuki Philippines Inc. and Suzuki Auto Shaw agreed to provide him with an Alto K10 as a service car.
We apologize to Mr. Gabrillo for any inconvenience this situation has brought upon him. We are still coordinating with him on how amends could be made to address the situation and move forward.
We appreciate all the feedback that were given and you can trust that we will be taking them all into consideration as we continuously strive to deliver quality products and services to our customers.