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DTI resorts to 3rd party experts in Montero case

(The Philippine Star) - December 17, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has decided to resort to independent third party experts and facility to aid in the investigation of the alleged sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) cases of Mitsubishi Montero that could potentially lead to a recall of the model’s units.

The DTI consumer protection group investigating panel concluded yesterday its two-week long investigation that sought to address the growing number of complaints regarding the SUA cases on the Montero.

Based on the panel’s findings, Trade Undersecretary Victorio Dimagiba said the DTI has recommended the engagement of third party experts and laboratory to conduct tests and investigations on the cause of the alleged SUA cases.

Dimagiba said the DTI would shoulder the expenses for the procurement of third party experts and laboratory to make it completely independent.

He said automotive facilities needed for a complete vehicle testing are not available locally which is why there is a need to tap foreign laboratories.

Dimagiba said random vehicle samples of the Montero model, including those that have allegedly went through SUA cases, would be shipped to the chosen laboratory capable of undertaking full vehicle testing.

Countries being considered for the automotive testing include Thailand, Singapore and Germany.

“The DTI-Panel, Department of Science and Technology, and Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC) shall,  within 30 days herefrom, lay out the terms and conditions for the conduct of an independent third party expert or experts as well as a third party laboratory to perform all relevant tests and investigations on the cause of the alleged SUA incidents,” Dimagiba said.

Dimagiba said it is only after the independent third party testing finds that the SUA cases were due to technical and mechanical failure that the DTI can order a product recall.

MMPC in a statement last week said there is currently no basis for a recall order as no defect has been found on the 97 Montero vehicles involved in the alleged SUA cases.

The local unit of Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp. likewise believed it is best to tap a credible independent third party technical evaluator to settle the Montero Sport SUA issue.

The company, however, is still facing administrative charges for the alleged violation of the Consumer Protection Act, DTI Fair Trade and Enforcement Bureau director Danilo Enriquez said.

Enriquez said the charges are based on the sworn statements of 24 complainants who claimed to have experienced SUA on their Montero automatic vehicles.

“Consequently, though the tests conducted pursuant to the panel’s mandate initially showed negative results, the panel cannot overlook the fact that there are numerous complaints against the Montero to which no party by far, whether it be the victims or MMPC, can point to a specific culprit,” he said.

ACIRC CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT DANILO ENRIQUEZ DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY DIMAGIBA DTI FAIR TRADE AND ENFORCEMENT BUREAU MITSUBISHI MONTERO PARTY SUA
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