A record heritage – Suzuki sets new World Record on Heritage Day

The Suzuki Jimny may be a compact vehicle, but there is more than enough space in the back to carry the official certificate of the Guinness World Records.

On Sunday 24 September, Suzuki Auto and almost 800 owners and fans celebrated Heritage Day by setting a new World Record. It was witnessed by representatives from Suzuki Motor Corporation and the Guinness Book of World Records.

The record was set for the most vehicles to switch on their lights simultaneously and it was done at the first ever Suzuki Jimny Gathering on the Langkranz Farm near Clarens.

“We picked the record for the most vehicles to switch on their lights simultaneously, because that allowed our older models, the Samurai, LJ and SJ 4×4 owners to take part,” says Brendon Carpenter, Brand Marketing Manager at Suzuki Auto South Africa.

The LJ, SJ and Samurai were the predecessors to the Suzuki Jimny, and they share the same genes – a compact size, hardy ladder frame, full off-road capable engine and transmission and a go-anywhere attitude.

To set a World Record, such as the one officially verified on Sunday, is no mean feat.

The first hurdle was to contact the Guinness World Record office. As the keeper of global records, the organisation has over 62 000 records on their books, and they receive thousands of requests to verify records every year. Indeed, in 2022 they approved over 7 300 new records.

“To be considered for a World Record, you have to meet all the standards set by the Guinness World Record organisation. This includes the way the event is organised, the way it is recorded for later review and even looking after the safety and security of all the participants. And of course, we needed someone from one of the global Guinness World Record offices to attend,” says Carpenter.

Fortunately, the Guinness World Record organisation was thrilled about the idea of setting a new record, especially since it would be set by hundreds of the same vehicle, the Jimny and its forebears. They sent Jack Brockbank of their London office to officiate the proceedings.

Another hurdle to overcome, was getting enough Jimny owners to attend.

Fortunately for Suzuki Auto, the popularity of the Jimny is not only linked to its affordable price or hardy design.

“We were overwhelmed by the interest in our Jimny Gathering. Not only did almost 800 owners and their vehicles attend, but they came from across the country. All these owners came on their own accord and paid for their own fuel, accommodation and food. This is the best possible endorsement of the Jimny’s popularity anyone could ask for,” says Carpenter.

Ultimately, the final hurdle was actually setting the record. To be officially recognised and verified, the Suzuki Jimny, SJ, LJ and Samurai models had to switch on their lights at exactly the same time. This was recorded on video to be available for slow-motion verification and later audit.

On Sunday, the Jimnys lined up with their owners and occupants inside. They all watched carefully as Nick Hamman from 5FM counted them down. The weekend’s main host – comedian Schalk Bezuidenhout – jumped into his personal Jimny to be part of the World Record attempt.

Five… four… three… two… one! And the record was set. After verification, out of 796 Jimnys a total of 787 managed to switch on their lights within the 5-second window period. This was enough to give the new record to the one and only Suzuki Jimny!


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