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Mitsubishi Offers Free Inspections

October 3, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is offering to inspect for free the estimated 6 million Mitsubishi cars in service in Japan to reassure owners worried about a two-decade coverup of defects at the automaker.

The checkups, which include a free oil change, will also be offered to buyers of new Mitsubishi models sold through next March, Mitsubishi Motors spokesman Masayuki Sekino said Tuesday.

Owners of old Mitsubishi models will get a one-time checkup. Those who buy new models will get six checkups over the next two and a half years. The checkups cannot be substituted for legally required inspections.

``We hope to regain the trust of customers,″ Sekino said.

Mitsubishi Motors, which has recently sold a 34 percent stake to DaimlerChrysler, has been hurt by a coverup of driver complaints that surfaced over the summer.

Car sales dropped about 20 percent in September to 37,000, compared to a year earlier. President Katsuhiko Kawasoe has said he will resign in November to take responsibility for the scandal.

The coverup surfaced when government inspectors found documents about unreported driver complaints in a company locker-room.

The failing brakes, leaking fuel, malfunctioning clutches and other hidden defects likely required massive recalls.

On Monday, Mitsubishi Motors was ordered to pay a fine of $36,975 by a Tokyo court.

Mitsubishi has announced a recall of 620,000 cars and trucks.

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