In 2011, a blog that collected the "complaints" of alleged victims of sudden unintended acceleration involving the Mitsubishi Montero Sport hit cyberspace. Mitsubishi Motors Philippines subsequently issued an official statement regarding this, and the blog was eventually taken down. We thought that was the end of it. We were wrong.
Yesterday, at the media fuel-economy drive of the Mirage G4 from Manila to Baguio, MMPC marketing services vice president Froilan Dytianquin told TopGear.com.ph that a guy named "John Chua" had resurrected the blog, which you can find here. Dytianquin said they don't know anyone with that name, and that he can't remember a Montero Sport owner (or at least one who has filed a complaint pertaining to sudden unintended acceleration) with that name. He added that the person might be related to one of the previous complainants, who numbered "more than 30."
The blog is advertised as being "from the now-defunct blog monterovictims.blogspot.com."
In its official statement in September 2011, MMPC said:
Upon receiving these complaints on unintended acceleration, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) Japan dispatched its engineers last February to investigate the claims. The investigation yielded that all the components (fuel injection system, pedal, engine control unit, wiring harnesses, etc.) and software were operating normally within specifications. MMC will also investigate the latest reported cases of unintended acceleration. In addition, we would like to note that the electronic throttle system of the Montero Sport has undergone extensive testing not only during its development but also during mass production to ensure that it will function the way it was designed to.
In other words, MMPC has done its responsible part in the issue by having it investigated by no less than Mitsubishi's engineers in Japan. Like we've written in the past, this alleged phenomenon of sudden unintended acceleration--or the incident of a motor vehicle moving forward without the driver stepping on the throttle pedal--has been debunked by industry experts and even by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Our position here at Top Gear Philippines is that sudden unintended acceleration simply doesn't exist.
But the complaints seem to persist. Dytianquin doesn't know why, other than a natural tendency on the part of the complainants to want to escape culpability in an accident. "Usually, those who come forward and invoke sudden unintended acceleration have incurred damages that can't be covered by their insurance policies." Meaning that the damages--especially on the third-party vehicles--are too expensive to repair for the Montero Sport owners' insurance policies.
According to Dytianquin, only three of all the complainants have actually gone to the Department of Trade and Industry to file a formal complaint. One of these cases has already been dismissed by the DTI in favor of MMPC, while the other two are pending, said the Mitsubishi executive.
"There was one case in which the CCTV video clearly showed that the Montero Sport's brake lights weren't on upon impact, and that the exhaust pipe was even emitting smoke," Dytianquin told us. The driver, in other words, was stepping on the gas, not the brakes.
But just to appease these Montero Sport owners--since, in the words of Dytianquin, "we don't want to lose them as customers"--their respective Mitsubishi dealers offered to resell the units for them after the repair had been completed.
It's particularly interesting that this issue was revived in a year when the Montero Sport achieved its highest sales since its launch in the Philippines. In 2013, the midsize SUV sold a total of 14,683 units to become not just the best-selling SUV in our market but also the best-selling light commercial vehicle, a title previously held by the Toyota Innova.
We have no way of contacting "John Chua" for his side of the issue. He is free to get in touch with us anytime.