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Mitsubishi Recalls Replacement Fuel Caps From Previous Recall

September 08, 2000|From Associated Press

TOKYO — Mitsubishi Motors Corp. announced a new recall Thursday on fuel caps it first recalled just two weeks ago, when the Japanese auto maker acknowledged a 20-year cover-up of auto defects.

The latest recall was necessary because the replacement cap didn't work properly.

The unusual recall is another in a string of embarrassments for Mitsubishi Motors, which is under police investigation in the cover-up that has forced it to call back 620,000 vehicles.

About 45,000 Minicab trucks, sold only in Japan, were among the recalls announced in August. Fuel-tank caps wouldn't shut properly, resulting in possible leaks. No accidents have been linked to the defect.

The second recall became necessary after Mitsubishi found that exchanging the caps didn't solve the problem: The openings for the lids were also defective, a company spokesman said.

The Japanese media have been scrutinizing Mitsubishi this week after it acknowledged it was renegotiating a deal reached this year with DaimlerChrysler.

The German-American auto maker said Thursday it will issue a statement today concerning its alliance with Mitsubishi.

DaimlerChrysler had been set to acquire a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors, but it is now expected to raise its stake--to nearly 40%, according to some Japanese media reports--and also to win greater representation on the board.

Both sides say they are in talks but would not give specifics. Mitsubishi says a drastic change in management, including the monitoring of quality, is in the works.

Mitsubishi Motors President Katsuhiko Kawasoe has been under pressure to step down. Speculation has been rife that he will announce his resignation soon and that DaimlerChrysler will send one of its executives to be chief operating officer.

Tokyo's Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Thursday that Mitsubishi would announce the replacement today of Kawasoe with Takashi Sonobe, the company's vice president.

Both the Nikkei and Germany's Stuttgarter Nachrichten reported that DaimlerChrysler would send Rolf Eckrodt, head of its former rail subsidiary, Adtranz, to be top executive at Mitsubishi. The Nikkei said Eckrodt would oversee Mitsubishi's passenger car division. The Stuttgarter said Eckrodt would be Mitsubishi's new vice chairman, or No. 2, at the company.

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