MMC admits hidden defects caused 11 accidents

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Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said Wednesday that previously undisclosed vehicle defects revealed earlier this month had caused 11 accidents resulting in injuries, four fires and smoke emissions.

MMC found records of these accidents among the 56,000 safety-related documents submitted by its dealerships.

It had asked them to submit the documents earlier this month because MMC had only kept relevant documents for the last three years.

The 11 injuries were all caused by the tailgate of the Libero station wagon and Libero Cargo produced in 1992 becoming detached. The accidents took place between December 1993 and May 2002.

In one case, a van owner was hit in the head when the tailgate became detached while the owner was trying to open it. The wound required eight stitches.

MMC said it does not have information on where the accidents occurred.

The Delica Space Gear wagon made in 1995 and the Minica Toppo minivehicle produced in 1994 caused fires and emitted smoke.

MMC said the accidents related to these two models occurred between April 1994 and May 1997. It said it is still investigating where the accidents took place. There were no injuries resulting from these cases, it said.

In February 1995, a Chariot minivan ran into a wall after its brakes failed. MMC said it does not know whether anyone was injured.

On June 2, MMC admitted to further defect coverups but maintained there were no accident or injury reports. On June 18, it said the defects had resulted in a single fire accident.

It said that of the 26 defects revealed on June 2, it would issue eight recalls on June 30, including the Sigma sedan, the Pajero recreational vehicle and the Galant sedan.

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp. said it has checked and implemented temporary measures on 81 of the 74,506 trucks subject to recalls related to defective clutch housings.

The defective parts caused a series of accidents, including one fatality in Yamaguchi Prefecture in October 2002. Mitsubishi Fuso announced the recall on May 26.

It said 47,265 of the 106,821 large vehicles recalled due to front wheel hub defects have undergone temporary measures. The defect in question caused a fatal accident in Yokohama in January 2002.

Recalls for these vehicles were announced in March and April.

Mitsubishi Fuso said it is investigating with police six accidents that involve a total of three deaths to find the role of structural defects in its large vehicles. The accidents occurred between June 14 and 21.