The Mitsubishi Group

Question 1

The Mitsubishi Group is a multinational company that is based in Japan. It has many other autonomous businesses all over the world that share its brand, legacy, and trademark. Company’s operations began in the fiscal year 1917 with the production of the Mitsubishi model A cars. The company has established itself as an innovator over the next two decades. As an innovator, it has managed to develop the first diesel engine in Japan (Motor Cars, 2012, par. 4). In addition, the company has been able to develop Japan’s first bus and four-wheel drive passenger car prototype. The company has continued to have great successes in areas like international rallying with its Lancers and Galants products. By the end of the decade, Mitsubishi cars were receiving various awards like the 1977 South Africa’s car of the year and many others. Throughout the 1990s, the company’s car Shogun has continued to take over the rallying arena.

However, in the fiscal year 2004 Mitsubishi company had a liability case because of product safety issues. Maine couple in Florida sued Mitsubishi Motors for their son’s death. The couple accused the company of covering up some defect flaws that were in the Montero Sport line. Consequently, this resulted in a tragic accident involving their son Scott Laliberte (La Bovick, 2008, par.3). The couple claimed that their son was partially ejected from the car when the accident happened. This was because the seat belt and the recliner mechanism had inherent defects. Seatbelts are normally supposed to save lives whenever they are used correctly. But a seat belt system that is poorly constructed can lead to tragic consequences during an accident.  Consequently, many people have died because of car companies that have not fulfilled their consumer duties.

 Question 2

In law, product liability is when distributors, retailers, manufacturers, and other people who produce goods that will be used by the public are held responsible for the damage that these products may cause. In law, the word product refers to a property belonging to an individual. In America product liability claims are normally associated with things like a warranty breach, negligence, protection of the consumer, and strict liability (Fitt: the Professional Path to Global Market, n.d.). Three kinds of liability claims that are distinguished are failure to properly inform the public about the product use, its design, and manufacturing defects. Manufacturing defects are claims that may occur during the process of manufacturing. They normally result from substandard manufacturing or materials of poor quality. Normally, design defects occur when the designed product is innately of low quality or is dangerous. This occurs regardless of the process of manufacturing that the product may undergo. 

There are three legal theories used in product liability cases. The plaintiff stated that the car crash occurred because front passenger seat and a seatbelt were defective. The Council of the plaintiff claimed that the seat belt was supposed to be energy absorbent. It was created with an overlapping fabric that was 10 inches (La Bovick, 2008). The fabric used could cause the belt to extend or break away. Under product liability, the company was charged because product specifications were faulty. The manufacturer ought to have known about the defect despite the fact that the product was constructed according to specifications. The failure of a producer to warn customers about the potential dangers is considered to be a serious offence. In the US the manufacturer is held responsible for upholding standards of the product both nationally and internationally. If one is found to be liable, the manufacturer will be held responsible for the damage that the product has caused. In this case, Mitsubishi was held liable for the death of the couple’s son.

Question 3

This case has resulted in a number of changes in Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi now puts significant effort to ensure that their products are safe and high quality. In addition, they have endeavored to communicate more with their customers and get their feedback on their products through exhibitions and various public events. Mitsubishi has endeavored to offer its customers products that are safe to use. The company has created avenues to ensure that the functionality of their products is fully optimized (Mitsubushi Motors, 2005). To establish openness with their customers, Mitsubishi has devised a mechanism to rapidly respond to requests of customers, their opinions, and their complaints. This feedback is in turn causes them to develop and improve their products. There is a basic management policy to offer safe products to their clients. Furthermore, the company desires that its products are reliable and satisfactory from the customers’ view. Mitsubishi has also emphasized several aspects in manufacturing its vehicles. Driving with pleasure and safety are the concepts that are emphasized by this great organization in ensuring that its products are customer friendly. Mitsubishi has ensured that it pays close attention to details. The company believes that this will add more value to their cars in the eyes of their customers.

Question 4

In Japan, the Product Liability Act was enacted in the fiscal year 1995. This law says that a manufacturer must take responsibility for any damage in the property or personal injury that may be caused by a defect. In most cases, a product must be safe to use by its users. However, when it threatens customer safety, this means that it has a defect. In Japan importers and producers are considered as manufacturers. The legislation grants all manufacturers protection in instances when customers did know about the defect during the purchase of the product. Moreover, there is a claim limit of 3 years from the time of damage (Fitt: the Professional Path to Global Market, n. d.). This time is normally used by the injured party to demand compensation. If for ten years the product receives no complaints, manufacturers are not responsible for any damage.

For Mitsubishi, they have established a regulatory body to assist it in coordinating all its activities. The Environmental Council was established in the fiscal year 1993 to coordinate the environmental activities of the company. The body meets annually  to ensure that proper environmental policies are composed. In addition, the council decides and discusses issues that are linked to the proposals made by committees of other companies. The council has three committees: production, product, and environmental management committee, which regulate the affairs in their departments (Mitsubushi Motors, 2005). In the fiscal year 2004, this council was able to regulate some of Mitsubishi policies so that it could comply with the regulation of fuel economy in Japan. This was done in collaboration with government’s efforts to prevent global warming.

Question 5

In order to avoid future law suits the company should ensure that it has adequately tested its products before releasing them to the market. It also ought to ensure that their products are thoroughly checked and that research is carried out about negative and positive sides of their products (Fitt: the Professional Path to Global Market, n. d.).  In addition, the company should set up proper structures that will ensure that customers are properly warned in case of a faulty in a product. It is considered a serious offense whenever customers are not informed about the dangers of products they are using. The manufacturer is often held responsible for the quality of the products that it produces.

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