Mitsubishi PH: Third party must settle Montero Sport issue
Mitsubishi PH: Third party must settle Montero Sport issue
Mitsubishi says a credible third party should resolve the issue of sudden unintended acceleration

MANILA, Philippines – Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) said on Tuesday, December 8 that getting a “credible and completely independent third party” is the best way to settle the Montero Sport sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) issue.

In a statement, Mitsubishi said having a third party would help settle the opposing views of the complainants and the vehicle’s distributor, and a reported possible recall order from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

MMPC First Vice President Froilan Dytianquin said MMPC and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation of Japan thoroughly evaluated all the 97 vehicles involved in alleged SUA and found nothing wrong with any of them.

Some complainants remain unconvinced and have asked for a recall, and the DTI has been reported to be in favor of it, the statement read.

No to recall

Dytianquin said a recall order is issued when a defect has been found, and if there is none, there is nothing to check and correct.

“At this point, we believe such a recall order is not called for. That is why we have been pushing for a third party to settle the issue,” he said.

Besides, “that will significantly affect the businesses of our dealers and their thousands of employees and their families. The perceived solution will create unintended and even bigger problems,” he added.

Dytianquin also said that it is baffling as well why it is only the Montero Sport units in the Philippines that are facing SUA allegations.

MMPC said the SUA story first came out in a blog in 2011 when Montero Sport was no. 1 in the mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) market. It was the market leader from 2009 to 2013.

“Now that we are about to launch our all-new Montero Sport, the SUA issue suddenly cropped up again,” he said.

MMPC’s Dytianquin also said they are not accusing anybody. “We are only raising some questions because the timing of these stories is suspect.”

What’s the basis?

MMPC also pointed out that there are zero SUA allegations in other Southeast Asian countries, and they carry the same units being sold in the Philippines.

“If there is a problem in the unit, that should also manifest in the units being sold in other countries,” Dytianquin said.

The Montero Sport units in Southeast Asia are all made in Thailand.

Dytianquin said MMPC will ask the DTI to take a second look at its reported inclination to order a recall.

“Its effect on the businesses of MMPC, its dealers, ancillary industries, their employees, and even the image of the Philippines as an investment destination will be severely affected,” he said.

Dytianquin also asked, “More importantly, what will be its (DTI) basis (for recall) since there is no defect in the units?”

On December 4, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) advised the public to avoid using Montero Sport units offered by riding services like GrabCar or Uber.

LTFRB Board Member Antonio Inton Jr said commuters using transport network companies (TNCs) should request for premium vehicles other than Mitsubishi Montero. (READ: LTFRB: Avoid riding Montero units offered by riding services)

On December 3, a concerned lawyer also urged the LTFRB to put on hold the approval of the applications of Montero vehicles accredited by Uber and GrabCar.

Heated issue

The issue over SUA also heated up further on social media.

Top Gear recently shared a motorist’s comparison of the pedals of the Mitsubishi Montero Sport and the Toyota Fortuner. It indicated that SUA could also be due to misapplied pedals, which might happen when the driver swings his or her right foot, thus the unintended acceleration.

Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng, president of Summit Media (publisher of Top Gear), also replied to a Facebook commenter who claimed that the publication was defending Mitsubishi over the issue of SUA because the automotive dealership has ties with the Gokongwei’s businesses.

Gokongwei-Cheng replied, “I had to Google ‘Gokongwei Mitsubishi’ to see what you were getting at. I can understand why anyone would have that idea given ‘your Googling’ but to be very clear, the Gokongwei joint venture with Mitsubishi Corporation is for Ministop.”

She replied as well that Mitsubishi Corporation, just like any huge zaibatsu or Japanese conglomerate, has its fingers in every industry, and also pointed out that the company has tie-ups with several Filipino conglomerates, not only with the Gokongwei group.

“The Gokongwei group has no connection to Mitsubishi Motors. I can assure you and Top Gear’s audience that there is no conflict of interest here,” she said. “You definitely have the instincts of a reporter but research pa more pare ko (but research further my pal).”

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