Japanese car maker Mitsubishi has left a bitter taste in the mouth of the Indian Army, as the Pajero SUVs supplied by the company have malfunctioned. The SUVs had been supplied to the Indo-China border at Sikkim, where they malfunctioned. This issue forced the irked Army to take some of them to Kolkata.
While the Indian Army blames it on the manufacturer, Mitsubishi blames it on the Army, who the company alleged wanted to use low quality diesel and Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), which is composed of 70% kerosene. They also claim to have suggested the use of an imported additive to no avail.
However, despite the claims by Mitsubishi, the Army remains largely dissatisfied, as they feel that the vehicle has been pushed to them out of compulsion and that they did not prefer the Pajero by choice. They also complain that the engines of the Pajero developed complications higher up in the mountains and so three of the SUVs had to be brought down to the plains. Despite all these problems, the Army claims to have making the best use possible of the SUVs without allowing them to die an easy death.
Replying to the complaints by the Indian Army, Mitsubishi maintains that the engines are all fine but the Army's choice of using poor quality diesel with high kerosene content was the cause of the malfunction. It also says that the Pajero has always withstood extreme weather. The manufacturer further identifies the problem as damage in fuel injection pumps due to the use of incompatible fuel. It has also been alleged by the carmaker that their suggestion to defreeze diesel with a recommended additive also fell into deaf ears.
The Indian Army is usually content with Maruti Gypsies and Mahindra All-Wheel Drive (AWD) units. However, the decision to use the Pajero SUV might have comes after seeing the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) parading in SUVs.
Mitsubishi had sent about 12 Pajeros to Sikkim from 2011 till 2014 but they also affirmed that a couple of the SUV did have to go to the plains in Kolkata. They also said that the SUVs supplied to the Indian counterparts across the border have been doing well without any issues.
Despite all these developments, an unnamed spokesperson at the Fort William, the Indian Army's Eastern Command Headquarters, had said that he hadn't been aware of any dialogue between the company and the Indian Army, which could have taken place in Delhi and not Kolkata.