Mitsubishi Urged to Compensate Chinese Consumers

The China Consumer Association Monday urged Mitsubishi to compensate drivers for all direct losses caused by the safety flaw in two of its car models.

The association also questioned a number of the Japan-based company's practices.

According to China's Law on the Protection of Consumers' Rights and Interests, if a product is not up to standard, consumers have the right to return the product.

Consumers themselves, instead of Mitsubishi, should decide whether the affected vehicles require a check-up and have parts replaced, or be recalled, said the association.

A consumer from Chengdu, the capital city of southwest China's Sichuan Province, is considering taking Mitsubishi to the court, according to the Chengdu Commercial News. The consumer -- an owner of a Pajero V33, one of the affected models -- said the faulty brake system "almost" led to an accident during the Spring Festival.

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi announced Monday that it would provide check-ups for all Pajero V31 and V33 cross-country cars currently used in China.

This is the first time that the automaker has made public an announcement since the State Exit-Entry Inspection and Quarantine Bureau banned the use of the two models and revoked the company's import safety permit last Friday.

Mitsubishi said it had informed its 44 special maintenance stations across China to provide free replacement of the rear braking fluid tubes last Friday immediately after the bureau made the ban.

Anraku Hideaki, new president of Mitsubishi's Beijing Office, apologized to China's consumers during an interview with the Beijing-based China Central Television.

The company said the V73, a new model of Pajero, does not have the safety flaw because its structure is totally different from that of V31 and V33.

The design flaw was first discovered in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region last September, when Huang Guoqing, a driver in Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia, found the braking system of his Pajero had failed.

Huang immediately sent the car to the Ningxia Exit-Entry Inspection and Quarantine Bureau. A thorough examination has found braking fluid in the cars will leak out during rough driving and possibly cause brake failure.

When Mitsubishi began to sell the V31 and V33 in China, it claimed the two models were specially designed for the Chinese market.

There are about 72,000 V31 and V33 cross-country cars currently on the nation's roads, especially in the western regions such as Sichuan, Guizhou, Gansu and Tibet.

(China Daily 02/13/2001)

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