Is there any group that can step in to investigate the Mitsubishi Montero Sport SUA debacle?
That is the question given that the public is reluctant to accept the findings of the extensive internal investigation of Mitsubishi while the Department of Trade and Industry appears to be ill-equipped to handle it from a technical standpoint.
We thought it prudent to make a call to the national auto club, the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP, formerly the Philippine Motoring Association), to help shed some light on what other options are out there when it comes to investigating the matter.
“MIROS might be able to do it,” was the answer we received from Mr. Johnny Angeles, the Vice President and Chairman of Advocacies of the AAP.
MIROS,or the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research, is an organization that does laboratory-based crash testing for the ASEAN region. As such, MIROS is the leading partner in establishing the ASEAN NCAP (New Car Assessment Program), the regional equivalent of Euro NCAP and the U.S. NHTSA.
AAP's Angeles stressed that the Philippines has no capability to comprehensively investigate a road accident or assess cars locally by crash testing.
“During the DTI hearing this past Wednesday, I was invited to attend,” continued Angeles. “At that meeting, I asked the engineers on the panel if we had equipment for forensic accident examination cases like SUA. They said none [Sabi nila wala daw].”
At present there is clamor for an independent technical working group to conduct testing of vehicles that have been attributed to the Montero Sport. The complainants won't retreat from their position that the vehicle as fault while Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation likewise will not change their position that the vehicle is not at fault. The Department of Trade and Industry appears to have inadequate resources -manpower, equipment, expertise, etc.- to effectively mediate the situation while in social media, in dealerships, and on the roads, there is an uneasy feeling with the Montero Sport after one media agency's unrelenting coverage of SUA incidents.
MIROS's/ASEAN NCAP's forte may be crash testing, but Mr. Angeles says it may be possible for them to independently investigate the powertrain of vehicles like the Montero Sport given that the NCAP mandate and mission is to make sure cars sold in the ASEAN region are safe. More importantly, Mr. Angeles says they will be able to work the issue with complete impartiality.
“They don't owe anyone anything [Wala silang utang na loob kung kanino man]. They buy cars from the showrooms randomly to make sure it's not a specially-rigged model for crash testing,” continued Mr. Angeles. “Whatever car it is, they buy it, crash it, assess the aftermath, and then rate it.”
“If the DTI would like and because the AAP is a member and signatory for ASEAN NCAP, we can make a request to MIROS for technical assistance,” concluded Mr. Angeles.
Even MMPC is very open to the participation of any competent and independent group. We contacted Mr. Arlan Reyes for their view on the matter.
“We at Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation would welcome the participation of any independent organization with complete equipment, competent experts, and a scientific approach to test our Montero Sport,” said Mr. Arlan Reyes, MMPC's Manager for Marketing Services, to AutoIndustriya.com.
“We are confident that there is no defect with our Montero Sport.”