Mit­subishi to end sale of Ex­press van

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By NEIL DOWLING

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

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