Mitsubishi Motors recalls 650,100 cars

TOKYO, July 25 Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:07am EDT

TOKYO, July 25 (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Motors Corp is recalling about 650,100 minicars in Japan, including the 660 cc Minica, over a glitch in the air intake duct in the car's engine compartment, the Japanese carmaker said on Thursday.

A plastic clip that holds the air intake duct onto the car's body could be damaged. That could lead to the duct falling off and melting, burning or catching fire, a spokesman said.

Japan's sixth-biggest carmaker by sales volume is recalling certain models of Minica, Toppo BJ and Toppo BJ wide that were manufactured between 1998 and 2011. There are about 70 vehicles with the same make sold overseas including in Singapore.

Mitsubishi is aware of 11 cases of fire suspected to have been caused by this problem as well as 13 cases of burning or melting of the duct, the spokesman said. No injuries, deaths or accidents have been reported.

The company said it will exchange the plastic clip with new ones, which will take around 20 minutes. The spokesman declined to reveal how much the recall will cost the carmaker.

Mitsubishi has been embroiled in a number of recall-related scandals, most notably in 2000 when an insider's tip revealed that it had been hiding customer complaints for more than two decades. In April, the Japanese government warned the company over delays in a series of recalls between 2010 and 2012.

(Reporting by Yoko Kubota; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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