THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has ordered a recall of Mitsubishi Montero automatic transmission units released between 2010 and 2015, having found these to be defective and at risk of suffering so-called sudden unintended acceleration (SUA).
The DTI Adjudication Division’s decision on Thursday was in response to complaints filed against Mitsubishi Motors for alleged cases of SUA.
The DTI ordered Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) to cease and desist from marketing and selling units of the vehicle model in question, to refund those that have the affected vehicles according to the appraised value, and to make public the product recall order within 20 days.
The DTI said the decision was not yet final, however, because of a motion for reconsideration filed by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines.
The DTI’s Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB) will have to answer the motion before a final resolution is released.
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Motors said that the DTI’s directive to recall the Montero Sport was not yet final and executory.
“It is important that in the findings of the DTI-FTEB itself [it was]found that there is no basis for any of the claims of SUA in the Montero Sport,” the company said.
“Given our absolute commitment to customer safety, our principal Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Japan commissioned Horiba Mira Ltd., a specialist automotive engineering company based in UK to conduct tests on this alleged SUA claims. Horiba Mira found no technical issue with the 2010-2015 Montero Sport automatic,” it added.
“We remain confident of the technical integrity of these models, and will robustly defend the safety compliance of the vehicle concerned. No safety-related concerns on SUA have been raised in any other market concerning the Montero Sport [2010-2015] automatic, of which 360,000 units have been sold around the world,” it added.
Also on Thursday, MMPC opened its 100th anniversary expo at the World Trade Center in Pasay, celebrating 100 years since the production of the first cars by Mitsubishi in 1917.
Speaking to the media at the event, MMPC Executive Vice President for vehicle sales and marketing Shigeru Ogura said the automaker, which trails only Toyota in terms of market share in the Philippines, is forecasting a strong sales year in 2017.
“We expect 75,000 units sold in 2017,” Ogura said, pointing out this would represent an increase in sales of 22 percent from 2016.
The Philippines is a key market for Mitsubishi, he added, due to the manufacturer’s strong market position, high demand in the Philippine market, and the country’s large population.
Both Ogura and MMPC President and CEO Yoshiaki Kato shrugged off the Montero issue, however, saying the company would wait for the completion of the legal process before issuing any further statement.
Mitsubishi is one of the two manufacturers, along with Toyota, participating in the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program of the government. Under the program, the company assembles the Mirage G4 compact sedan at its factory in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
with BEN KRITZ