SUA issue hounds Mitsubishi

By Atty. Jerome G. Neri

REMEMBER the Sudden Unintended Acceleration controversy on the 2010-2015 models of the Mitsubishi Montero Sport? Well, the Department of Trade and Industry through the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau has found Mitsubishi Motors liable under article 97 of the Consumer Act of the Philippines, which provides that “any Filipino or foreign manufacturer, producer, and any importer, shall be liable for redress, independently of fault, for damages caused to consumers by defects resulting from design, manufacture, construction, assembly and erection, formulas and handling and making up, presentation or packing of their products, as well as for the insufficient or inadequate information on the use and hazards thereof.”

Although no electronic glitches in any of the vehicles system were found to be defective, this decision was based on the placement of the control pedals of the vehicle. The FTEB found that the pedal placement of the brake and accelerator was in such a manner that it is susceptible to misapplication of the pedal, which has resulted to many different mishaps involving the 2010-2015 Mitsubishi Montero Sport.

As a consequence, Mitsubishi Motors Philippines is ordered to refund owners of vehicles subject of recall, including the 24 complainants in the case, to cease and desist selling Mitsubishi Montero Sports 2010-2015 models, publish a recall order in a newspaper of general circulation and an administrative fine of P300,000.

The Department of Trade and Industry based its decision against Mitsubishi Motors Philippines on the placement of the control pedals of the 2010-2015 Mitsubishi Montero Sport. (SunStar File)

This decision implies that the DTI wants all of the Mitsubishi Montero owners with automatic transmissions from 2010-2015 year models to return their vehicles to Mitsubishi Motors Philippines and get a full refund as the DTI finds this vehicle a menace to our streets and not worthy to be on our roads.

I believe the order is too extreme and flawed. The defect they found is simple and can easily be corrected. Just move the brake and accelerator pedals further apart and problem solved. Removing all the automatic transmission Montero Sports will bankrupt Mitsubishi Motors Philippines.

Does this also mean that if you are an owner of a Mitsubishi Montero Sport automatic, you cannot sell your car because of this decision? Anyways, why would an owner want to sell it when he can return his car, after several years of service to Mitsubishi Motors for a full refund? No depreciation loss.

What about the Department of Transportation? Will they have to adopt the ruling and ban all Mitsubishi Montero Sport Automatic 2010-2015 models from plying our streets?

Well, this decision is not yet final as Mitsubishi Motors Philippines has filed a Motion for Reconsideration, and if denied, I believe Mitsubishi Motors Philippines will bring this case to the regular courts and all the way to the Supreme Court, if needed.

A very interesting case to watch.

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