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Mitsubishi slams rivals for tow weight figure fudging

Critical mass: Mitsubishi is suggesting that its rivals leave its customers with less than no payload capacity when towing big loads.

Gross vehicle mass numbers don’t add up says Mitsubishi product chief

1 May 2015

MITSUBISHI Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) has taken a veiled swipe at its major competitor’s towing capacities at the launch of its new Triton, suggesting that their published towing capacities are nothing but “headline numbers”.

The new MQ Triton is rated at 3100kg (100kg up from the outgoing MN), and senior MMAL figures have targeted two rivals – thought to be Holden’s Colorado and the D-Max from Isuzu – for payload deficiencies in a presentation to journalists.

“We’re worried that there’s a lot of people out there who don’t understand the reality of some of the competitors towing specifications, and are unknowingly potentially running outside the certified specification of the vehicle,” said Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) head of product planning, James Lot.

“We have years and years of experience in the practical application and development of utility vehicles, and that’s reflected in our specification. We’ re not interested in going out there and putting out a specification that’s not practical.” MMAL pointed to two key figures gross vehicle mass (GVM) and gross combination mass (GCM). The latter is the maximum allowable combined mass of a towing road vehicle passengers and cargo in the tow vehicle, plus the mass of the trailer and cargo in the trailer.

This rating is nominated by the vehicle manufacturer, potentially leaving it open to embellishment says Mitsubishi.

GVM, meanwhile, is the maximum operating weight or mass of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer, including the vehicle's chassis, body, engine, engine fluids, fuel, accessories, driver, passengers and cargo, but excluding that of any trailers.

Maximum braked towing capacity refers to the advertised towing figure for a trailer fitted with electric brakes unbraked trailer capacities are far lower.

Against a GVM of 2900kg and a GCM of 5885kg, the Triton has, according to MMAL, a maximum payload of 640kg remaining for cargo and passengers.

The rivals singled out as fudging the figures each have a GVM figure of 3200kg, a GCM figure of 6000kg and a towing capacity of 3500kg.

However, their maximum payloads fall to 341kg and 374kg respectively when the same rules are applied.

MMAL’s LCV/SUV product manager Owen Thomson then suggested that five passengers at 75kg be loaded aboard each vehicle. The Triton still had 265kg left for luggage, while its rivals fell into minus figures at minus 34kg and minus one kilograms respectively.

“You can’t put five 75kg people into competitor A when you’ve got 3500kg on the back,” he said. “That mass (GCM) also excludes any accessories fitted to the vehicles. How practical do you think that 3500kg number is?” Mr Lot said that the Triton was designed to work at its LCM figure “all day, every day.” “We’ve shown you the compromise that some of our competitors will have when they use the headline number. Most people load their trailer up to the max, then load their vehicle up as well,” he said.

“The way to do 3.5 tonnes towing capacity properly is to increase the gross combination mass. That’s what’s not happening out there when the headline towing number is being chased.” Mr Thomson added that MMAL’s research indicated that most of its customers towed loads far smaller than even its 3100kg tow limit.

“All our research shows that people in this class of car typically tow between one and one and a half tonnes,” he noted. “The majority of them never ever towed over two and a half tonnes and only five percent of them ever towed three tonnes.” Mr Lot said that MMAL didn’t need to chase a “headline number” to have a good product.

“We’re not interested in the headline towing race,” he said. “We have a vehicle that has the capability of carrying over 3.9 tonnes in total. Our competitors can only carry about 3.85.

“This is our business and we understand what our ute buyers need,” he said. “We have absolute confidence in that. It has to be that way – we’ve just put the specification up there (on the screen). Our customers will judge us very harshly if it can’t do it.”

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