Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation is ready to cooperate with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on complaints that a few units of MMPC’s best-selling sports utility vehicle (SUV) Montero Sport with automatic transmission are involved in sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) incidents.
In a news conference held on Tuesday, Froilan Dytianquin, MMPC first vice president for marketing, said the company is willing to shed light on the complaints that the Montero Sport units in question suddenly accelerate without intervention of the driver.
“We are confident that we will be vindicated by the DTI investigation,” he added.
MMPC has recorded at least 97 complaints related to SUA since 2011 and there are at least two new cases.
Dytianquin said 30 complaints arising from SUA ended with MMPC buying the involved Montero Sports units at second-hand car prices.
Some Mitsubishi dealers facilitated the buy-back of the units.
Although MMPC will cooperate with the DTI on the SUA complaints, Dytianquin said the company believes that its popular SUV is not prone to sudden acceleration without driver input.
“This is not the first time this unfounded issue has been raised. Nonetheless, we take each incident seriously. Time and again, we came to the same conclusion: There is no design, mechanical nor electronic defect in our product,” he pointed out.
Dytianquin questioned media reports and blogs coming out in cyberspace about SUA incidents involving the first-generation Montero Sport because MMPC is taking advanced bookings for the second-generation model that has better safety features and a new engine/transmission package.
Based on a study conducted by MMPC, sudden unintended acceleration can happen under the following conditions: pedal entrapment; pedal misapplication; mechanical/electronic failure; and sticky pedal.
Pedal entrapment happens when the accelerator pedal gets trapped or stuck because of the floor mat or carpet. To solve this, MMPC from 2011 required their dealers to install only approved floor mats on all its products.
Pedal misapplication happens when a driver steps on the wrong pedal. So when a driver steps on the gas pedal instead of the brakes, this can send a vehicle suddenly accelerating when it should be stopping. To help solve the problem, MMPC gives fliers to buyers of its products on how to operate a vehicle with automatic transmission.
MMPC has installed as standard equipment in all of its vehicles the shift lock features, where the vehicles with automatic transmission cannot be shifted away from park (for full stop) without pressing first the brake pedal.
Also, it has installed across all its products a brake override system that makes the application of the brakes a priority in case a driver steps on the accelerator and gas pedals at the same time.
Meanwhile, tests conducted by Mitsubishi personnel in Japan on Montero Sports allegedly involved in SUA incidents in 2011 as a result of alleged mechanical/electronic failure proved negative.
Sticky pedal happens when the accelerator pedal cannot get back to its original position after it is pressed.
Since its introduction in 2011, MMPC has sold about 88,000 units of the Montero Sports of which 63,000 are equipped with automatic transmission. All SUA complaints involve Montero Sports with automatic transmission.
The market competitors of the Montero Sports in the Philippines are the Toyota Fortuner, Isuzu mu-X, Chevrolet Trailblazer and Ford Everest.