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Wednesday, 19 July, 2000, 07:38 GMT 08:38 UK
Mitsubishi recalls 514,000 vehicles
Mitsubishi vehicle
Exported vehicles are not included in the recall
Japanese car maker Mitsubishi is recalling 514,000 vehicles after a raid on its headquarters discovered a stash of hidden complaints from customers.

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.

Mitsubishi, whose shares dived more than 13% on the news, is recalling vehicles which could have the same problems as those involved in the complaints.

None of the vehicles involved were exported, Mitsubishi said. It said there were no reports of accidents or injuries linked to the defects.

It estimated that the recall would cost five billion yen (31m, $46.26m), nearly a quarter of the car firm's operating income last year.

DaimlerChrysler

Japan's Transport Ministry said it had searched Mitsubishi HQ this month and discovered documents detailing unreported customer complaints hidden in a locker and other areas.

They said that as far as they were aware, senior management had not known customer complaints had been hidden.

The ministry has given Mitsubishi a stern warning and said punishment would be decided after further investigation.

The news is an embarrassment to Mitsubishi's new partner, DaimlerChrysler, who said the scandal would not affect plans for their alliance.

"The contract will be signed soon. Everything is going according to plan," said a spokesman for the German/US firm.

DaimlerChrysler is buying a one third stake in Japan's fourth largest car maker.

The recall affects nine models, including Mitsubishi's Pajero sports utility vehicle, known as the Montero in the US and its Lancer sedan.

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03 Dec 99 | Business
Mitsubishi slashes car prices
27 Oct 99 | The Company File
Mitsubishi Motors to cut 9,900 jobs
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