2006 Suzuki Forenza/Reno (Rebadged Daewoo Lacetti) - Possible pitfalls/problems?

My GF drives a 2006 Suzuki Reno and it has had some minor repairs needed. IT had no history on the timing belt so I did that job as well as all the idlers, tensioner, and the waterpump at the same time. I seem to find that this is the main catastrophic problem with this car and the belts often fail well before the 60k change interval so many do them at 40k. It sounds like the engine not at all forgiving to this while other interference designs sometimes come through without damage.

The transmission range sensor/neutral safety switch went out on it this weekend. It flaked out and went into a limp mode. I found a switch and the parts store got it here overnight so I put it in today and that problem is solved for now. I am glad the new part has a lifetime warranty as it looks like this part is another common failure point of this vehicle. The replacement part is a GM Daewoo part packaged under the parts store brand name so it is no different than the one I replaced.

She is all worried about this car now and concerned about what might go wrong next. Obviously the transmission range sensor is a common one and one needs to always keep up with the timing belt or face catastrophic consequences. Are there any other common issues that occur with this car? Anything serious or are they all pretty minor like this sensor?

Suzuki is long gone from the US, correct?

Neutral safety switches are not an uncommon part to fail on a lot of cars, at least as reported by owners here. I doubt your GF’s Suzuki is unique on that aspect.

About the only thing I know specific about Suzuki is one time I owned a Suzuki dirt-motorcycle, and it was very reliable.

Daewoo has tried to rebadge vehicles to get into the American vehicle market. But no matter what they build it’s junk.

How many of you remember the 90’s Pontiac La Mans built by Daewoo?


That car was a piece junk, and any car built by Daewoo is, well, you get what you pay for.


If the car is free and clear as to payments then drive it to the end. A neutral switch is nothing to worry about; it happens with all makes of cars.

The modern Daewoos are probably better than the early ones but “probably better” is a relative term.
I had the dubious privilege of working on a few of those Pontiac Daewoos in the 90s; about as horrible a POS as has ever been inflicted on the motoring public. I remember the last one I had hands on had a broken switch on the climate control and the entire unit had to be special ordered at over 400 bucks for the part alone. The car wasn’t worth that when new.

The Daewoos and Azteks are probably why Pontiac is dead and buried.

Actually the Pontiac Lemans of the 90s was essentially an Opel Kadett E. In Europe, Opel is like Chevrolet. But the Kadett E wasn’t considered a junky car, at least not over there

In my opinion, it just goes to show that what’s acceptable in one country is not necessarily going to be acceptable in another country

Maybe the Lemans was junk BECAUSE it was built by Daewoo . . . ?

Because the same car built by Opel was not junk

Yes, Suzuki is long gone as a brand of autos here in the U.S. That is a whole other story. The dealer charged her like double what the car was worth when she bought it a few years ago as the brand had already been discontinued and the value had dropped like a rock. Unfortunately I didn’t know her back then, otherwise I wouldn’t have let her pay this much for this car or get this one at all. Unfortunately it still has payments to be made.

I think the best thing for her is to pay it off and drive it as long as possible until something major goes wrong while saving for a different car. I also plan to try to keep up with the basic maintenance as well as the timing belt replacement. This seems to be the catastrophic issue with these as well as other Daewoo products such as the Chevy Aveo. If the timing belt calls for replacement at 60k, many people say they really need 40k intervals as they often break before 60k.

It doesn’t seem to be a bad car but definitely wouldn’t have been my first choice. I wasn’t too concerned about the transmission range sensor/neutral safety switch failure since it was an easy fix.

I guess the biggest concern from what I see is the timing belt breaking which is hopefully something that can be prevented with frequent replacement. Anything else glaringly wrong with this car besides it not being the best overall?

Car and Drivers comment on the Pontiac/Daewoo Le Mans still cracks me up. “Imagine blasting down the Mulsanne straight in this 104mph kimchi burner”!

db4690 I think ok4450 was taking about working on 1980s Pontiac/Daewoos in the 1990s. When I was at the Buick dealer in the mid 1970s they were also a dealer for Opels and Saabs. The Opel Kadetts had 100% better quality than their domestic GM counterparts. The GTs had a few problems but looked cool and were fun to drive. The Saabs were known to the mechanics as “SOBs” which had nothing to do with crying. Crying was reserved for the Saab owners.

Anyone really have any obvious complaints or deficiencies about this car besides the timing belt seeming to be a weak link and the fact it is a Daewoo? The GF syas that the car is a lot smoother now and that she suspects the transmission range sensor had been on a fine edge of failing for a few months. I also changed the oil but don’t think that would have made a difference as it wasn’t even really due.

Daewoo still musters on in the USA.

The Chevy Spark which is decently rated sub compact vehicle(not sure of reliability) is a rebadged Daewoo! The US major car makers finally have decent small cars offerings. Not because the US engineers came up with anything, they just realized they should import offerings(Dart, Cruze, Sonic,Spark,Focus, Fiesta…) from their foreign markets and rebadge them here.

To the OP, if she has some money move on from this car if it runs well! Peace of mind is priceless!


Please correct me if I’m wrong

The Daewoo brand itself doesn’t exist in the USA anymore . . . yes?

I’m aware that there may be rebadged Daewoos still being sold, but no new cars are being sold in the USA, under the Daewoo brand, correct?

Daewoo as a brand is gone. GM bailed it out around 2001 and kept its name associated very closely till now.

She doesn’t have the money to get rid of the car now. It seems to be running fine with no issues right now so I think it is best to just finish the payments in a year or so and move on then. Maybe she can get like $2000 then for it.

If she has no money AND payments currently. Keep the car. $2000 buys you very little + little trade in value this one has.

That is my opinion. There is nothing seriously wrong with the car and it has only needed minor repairs and preventative maintenance. Yeah, I did change the timing belt so that is a big one out of the way for a while. At least 40k since people say they bust way earlier than the 60k interval and then the engine is trashed.

The gas mileage stinks for a car of this class and it isn’t really that powerful considering but it is what she has and needs to work with. I figure there is no point in getting rid of it as long as it runs and isn’t costing a fortune in repairs.

I am most mad at the dealership who nearly charged her DOUBLE the value at the time this car was purchased because it was the lowest monthly payment and they knew she thought she needed a new car. I suspect the car that she traded in needed something minor like a relay and she didn’t know it.

Quoting @‌andrewRA

“The US major car makers finally have decent small cars offerings. Not because the US engineers came up with anything, they just realized they should import offerings(Dart, Cruze, Sonic,Spark,Focus, Fiesta…) from their foreign markets and rebadge them here.”

Isn’t the Dodge Dart the one they advertise as “Imported from Detroit”? According to Wikipedia, which admittedly is not perfect, the Dart is built in Belvedere IL as well as China. I’d guess the Chinese ones are slated for the Oriental market.

The Cruze is reportedly built in Lordstown Ohio.

The Sonic is reportedly built in Orion Twp Michigan.

Early Ford Focus cars were made in Mexico, but since 2005 they’ve been assembled in Wayne Michigan. Many of the parts are made in other countries, but that’s true of a lot of cars.

Does anyone know otherwise?

The Spark is Korean.

The Fiesta has been made all over the world, including Germany, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, Thailand, and even South Africa.

@MG_McAnick the designs/engineering are imported. Apply a few tweaks build in North America as the US auto industry cannot come up with a decent small car for the life of them.

The older Focus was well, 3rd tier. They imported the design from Europe and actually came up a great offering!