Mitsubishi to end sale of Express van
INFERIOR safety has led to the demise of one of Australia’s most popular tradie’s friends, the Mitsubishi Express.
Mitsubishi Australia says the pitiful one-star crash rating flew in the face of the company’s corporate message of safety.
‘‘Safety is one of our core messages,’’ says Mitsubishi Australia spokesperson Caitlin Beale. ‘‘We can’t bring in a one-star vehicle, so our decision for Australia is not to import any more.’’
Ms Beale says dealers will sell stock, of which she estimates only ‘‘a handful’’ remain. Mitsubishi will continue to manufacture the Express in Japan for its domestic market plus some export markets.
Ms Beale says there is no replacement for the Express ‘‘at the moment’’.
No similar van exists in Mitsubishi’s portfolio, though the company has an alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroen.
The Express was once one of the nation’s most popular vans but competition from Korea’s Hyundai iLoad and the perennial Toyota Hiace, plus new entrants from Europe, have slashed sales. It sold 622 last year compared with 6387 Hiaces.
Part of the van’s popularity was its price. At $26,590 it is $6000 cheaper than the equivalent Hiace. The Express’s success also has been slurried by its unsafe one-star crash rating — the lowest of any crashtested vehicle sold in Australia. Commercial vehicles are not required to be crash tested, so many are sold without buyers knowing how they fare in a crash— a loophole exploited by manufacturers of some Chinese vans and utes.
News of the impending death of the Express come as Mercedes-Benz freezes plans to import the compact Citan van. In European crash tests, the Citan scored only a three-star rating. Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman David McCarthy says ‘‘at the moment, I can’t comment’’.
The Citan is based heavily on the Renault Kangoo van which, astoundingly, scored four stars out of the possible five.
The Mitsubishi Express will no longer be sold here because of its poor ANCAP safety rating