Mitsubishi PH releases details of investigation into alleged Montero Sport SUA issue

Mitsubishi PH releases details of investigation into alleged Montero Sport SUA issue image

Text: Martin Aguilar / Photos: | posted December 03, 2015 10:10

There is no mechanical defect in the Montero Sport, Mitsubishi PH says

In a press conference held by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC), the company stated that there is no sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) issue in the Montero Sport in terms of the mechanicals or electronics.

MMPC First Vice President Froilan Dytianquin said during the press con that the “SUA is not possible in the Montero Sport from a technical viewpoint.”

To prove this point, MMPC presented their previous and current investigations pertaining to the SUA issue and focused on the 4 likely possible causes of the supposed problem. They focused on 4 potential causes such as (1) pedal entrapment due to the use of multiple, improvised and unauthorized mats, (2) pedal misapplication where the driver unconsciously steps on the gas pedal instead of the brake, (3) mechanical or electronic failure, or (4) a sticky accelerator pedal.

The first investigation was conducted from January 31 to February 4, 2011. Under this investigation, a team from Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) Japan was sent to the Philippines to look into three Montero Sport vehicles with SUA claims. It was conducted by MMC Japan Research and Development team that was comprised of Senior Engineer in Vehicle Testing Department and Engineer in Engine Performance Testing Dept.

The second investigation was from October 11 to 22, 2011. Again, a team from MMC Japan was sent to the Philippines to investigate eight Montero Sport vehicles with SUA claims. This time around, the investigation was conducted by MMC Japan General Manager, Head of Engineering in Vehicle Testing Department and Engineer in Engine Performance Testing Department.

The third investigation was from November 7 to 25, 2011 wherein a Montero Sport with SUA claim was sent to MMC Technical Center in Okazaki, Japan. This investigation was conducted by MMC Japan Powertrain Testing Department, Performance Testing Department, Vehicle Testing Department and Electronics Engineering Department.

MMPC explained that under these three separate investigations, the Montero Sport has undergone extensive testing such as inspecting the appearance and actual condition of the floor mat, static testing, dynamic testing of engine and transmission, off-vehicle inspection and software inspection.

MMC (Japan) also conducted special tests such as electromagnetic susceptibility while driving around strong broadcast station to find out if the signal interferes with the Montero's software. Furthermore, MMC Japan also did a supplier evaluation of the Accelerator Pedal Assembly. MMC Japan did additional tests to check the influence of the following: strong electromagnetic wave, electric abuse (power on/off cycle), high surge voltage, high static electricity and even the accessory parts installed.

With that in mind, MMPC announced that based on their investigations, they concluded that there was no design or mechanical defect on the Montero Sport.

Recently, MMPC did an investigation involving a Montero with SUA claim. According to the company's data, the incident happened on November 10, 2015 along J.P. Rizal Street in Santa Maria Town Proper, Bulacan.

With this, MMPC made a physical inspection of the Montero's wiring harness and connectors. According to MMPC, the Montero's air flow sensor connectors are securely locked and there were no signs of corrosion or dirt on the connector terminals. MMPC added that there were no damaged wires and connector pin on both harness and equipment side. Therefore, MMPC said that the Montero in question is in good condition.

MMPC also said that all vehicle data gathered conforms to manufacturer's standard specification. More importantly, the company mentioned that no malfunctions were observed on the subject vehicle and the brake system is in good condition and fully operational.

In an effort to assuage customers' doubts regarding the alleged SUA issue with the Montero Sport, MMPC is offering free vehicle check-ups at all of their service centers nationwide. Of note, MMPC explained that this program started way back in September 8, 2011 as part of the company's proactive countermeasure after the SUA issue first arose.

2009 Mitsubishi Montero

Since September 8, 2011, MMPC said that 1,885 Montero Sport have been captured by their free vehicle check-up.

As a review, MMPC has sold 88,000 units of the Montero since its launch last 2008. From the grand total, 63,000 units come with automatic transmission.

Overall, MMPC stands firm by claiming that the Montero Sport is “free from design and manufacturing defects that could cause sudden unintended acceleration.”

2016 Mitsubishi Montero

During the press con, MMPC expressed that they were surprised at the timing of the SUA allegations. To put things in perspective, Dytianquin said the Montero Sport SUA issue first arose in 2011 when they were segment leaders and now MMPC is preparing for the arrival of the all-new model.

It is worth mentioning that the Montero Sport offered in the Philippine market came from Thailand, which also caters other ASEAN markets. In this regard, Dytianquin said that it is only in the Philippines where SUA cases have been filed. In other countries with the Montero Sport, no SUA cases have been reported.

Mitsubishi PH executives (L to R): Arlan Reyes, Froilan Dytianquin and David Doctor

Lastly, Dytianquin added that MMPC will support and cooperate with the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) initiative to investigate the SUA issue. He “believes that the investigation will be fair” and “confident that [MMPC] will be vindicated after the investigation.”