Mitsubishi Starts Mass Recall
Jul. 18, 2000
TOKYO (AP) _ Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is recalling 514,700 vehicles and the government is looking into a possible cover-up after investigators unearthed consumer complaints that were filed with the automaker but never shown to authorities.
The complaints relate to defects in engines, brakes, fuel tank caps and other parts in the Japanese automaker's passenger cars, sport utility vehicles and commercial trucks. Further details about the defects were not immediately available, but Mitsubishi is recalling vehicles that could have the same problems as those involved in the complaints.
None of the vehicles affected by the recall were exported, Mitsubishi said. It said there were no reports of accidents or injuries linked to the defects.
The recall comes after Transportation Ministry officials said they discovered complaints that the carmaker had not filed with the ministry.
The officials said they found the documents in a company locker room during a routine inspection last November. The documents showed several thousand complaints dating back to 1998, the Kyodo News agency reported.
The government is investigating whether Mitsubishi hid the documents, said Yukikazu Komiyama, the ministry's safety division official. He said more recall orders may be coming.
Mitsubishi senior executive Hirotoshi Suzuki said he doesn't believe a cover-up took place, Kyodo reported. The automaker has started an internal investigation, Suzuki said.
The recall, which includes the Galant sedan and Pajero sport utility vehicle, among other products, is expected to cost Mitsubishi $46.2 million _ a quarter of the $184.9 million in group pretax profits the automaker forecast for this year.
In addition, Mitsubishi said it is notifying owners of about 178,000 additional vehicles that are entitled to free, minor repairs.
The recall comes as Mitsubishi is trying to boost sales and turn its business around with an alliance with DaimlerChrysler.
DaimlerChrysler, which has agreed to buy 34 percent of Mitsubishi, said Tuesday the alliance is still on. ``We are going to sign the contract in the near future,'' spokesman Michael Pfister said in Stuttgart, Germany.