Recalled MMC Pajero catches fire

Kyodo

A Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Pajero sport utility vehicle, worked on in a 1996 recall, caught fire Saturday along an expressway in Namegawa, Saitama Prefecture, police said.

The 41-year-old driver stopped the 1991 model and jumped out after noticing the left rear wheel was ablaze, according to the Saitama Prefectural Police. The recall concerned a faulty front-wheel brake.

The driver was not hurt. He said he was driving at some 90 kph when the vehicle ignited.

The fire completely destroyed the vehicle.

MMC said it had already repaired the defective brake of the Pajero SUV that caught fire.

“We will examine the vehicle, although it is hard to posit a direct causal relationship between this fire and any defect, given the fact that it was the left rear wheel that caught fire,” a Mitsubishi Motor official said.

MMC filed a recall for the Pajero in 1996 after detecting a durability problem in its front-wheel brake. The company has recently been mired in a series of scandals surrounding defect coverups.