China announced Friday that it will immediately ban imports of Mitsubishi
Pajero V31 and V33 series sport-utility vehicles following reports of brake
defects. The next day, the Japanese automaker countered with a statement that it
had in fact stopped exports of these two models last March.
The vehicles are alleged to have caused a series of
brake-related accidents in China, according to the state-owned Xinhua news
agency, due to brake oil leakages caused by the brake oil pipes colliding with
valves attached to the rear of the vehicles.
China started importing Pajero V33 models in 1994 and the V31
in 1996. An estimated 15,000 examples (out of a total Pajero fleet put at around
72,000) are currently in use in China.
Mitsubishi Motors said it began replacing components of the
models for free in November. The ban doesn't cover the new Pajero model and so
shouldn't affect the company's business in China much, Mitsubishi officials