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Mitsubishi Announces New Recall

TOKYO (AP) -- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. announced a new recall Thursday on fuel caps it first recalled just two weeks ago, when the Japanese automaker 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.

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

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

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

DaimlerChrysler had been set to acquire a 34 percent stake in Mitsubishi Motors, but the German automaker is now expected to raise its stake -- to nearly 40 percent 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.

The Mitsubishi cover-up surfaced after government inspectors found documents about consumer complaints and auto defects in a company locker room. The defects included failing brakes, fuel leaks and faulty clutches.


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AP-NY-09-07-00 0955EDT< 

-- Rachel Gibson (, September 07, 2000

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