TOKYO, April 23 Japan's transport ministry told
Mitsubishi Motors Corp on Tuesday that it must conduct
vehicle recalls more quickly after discovering multiple problems
in past cases, on the same day that the carmaker filed for
The ministry, which investigated the automaker in December,
concluded that the carmaker delayed for two years seeking the
cause of an oil-leak problem that led to a series of four
recalls between 2010 and 2012 of 1.76 million vehicles,
including the Minica and Minicab.
Mitsubishi Motors 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
over two decades.
"It became clear that Mitsubishi had problems in each of the
steps related to vehicle recalls," Takahiro Ikari, an official
at the transport ministry, told a Mitsubishi Motors executive.
"The company should come up with plans for improvement,
implement them and report them to the ministry."
The ministry found seven new problems related to the
2010-2012 recalls, which included not responding quickly to
problems reported by dealerships and inappropriate explanations
given to the ministry, though none of them were illegal, an
Mitsubishi separately said on Tuesday it would recall 3,839
Outlander SUV plug-in hybrids sold in Japan due to a problem in
the software that controls the front and rear drive motors, as
well as potential problems in the vehicle's generator and front
Tuesday's recall comes just weeks after Mitsubishi stopped
production and shipments of the plug-in hybrids in late March
for a separate problem due to overheating of a lithium-ion
No injuries or accidents have been reported from the
problem, spokeswoman Namie Koketsu said. She declined to
disclose costs related to the recall, which involved most of the
vehicles that Mitsubishi has sold since the plug-in hybrid went
on sale in January.
The automaker has seen its sales and reputation dented after
multiple recall-related scandals.
Mitsubishi Motors is set to announce its fourth quarter
earnings results on Thursday.