Mitsubishi Fuso offers vehicle owners free checkups; repairs come at a cost

by

Scandal-tainted Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp. said Monday it will provide all owners of its vehicles with free safety inspections at its dealerships beginning this week.

The company has been hit by a series of defect-coverup scandals over the past four months. With this inspection program, which begins Thursday and runs through Dec. 24, Mitsubishi Fuso said it hopes to ease customer anxiety.

But if any problems are found, vehicle owners will have to foot the bill to fix them, it said.

Earlier this month, the company said it would carry out preventive inspections of all Mitsubishi Fuso trucks and buses starting July 7. The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry had been urging the company to move up the date.

The rash of fires and accidents involving Mitsubishi Fuso’s large vehicles over the past few weeks have created growing concern.

About 1.3 million large vehicles manufactured by the automaker are in use nationwide.

The inspections will include checkups on about 40 items related to driving, including turning and stopping.

If any problems not related to known defects arise that require repairs, the company will fix them but the users will be liable for the cost of repairs, Mitsubishi Fuso said.

Mitsubishi Fuso will also launch emergency inspections Thursday of large vehicles subject to 40 recall and four improvement campaign notices.

The number of vehicles that will be affected by the emergency inspection has not been revealed. Mitsubishi Fuso had estimated that 450,000 large vehicles would be subject to recall and “quasi-recall” measures.

Mitsubishi Fuso will provide free checkups because it has not been able to formally announce recalls mainly due to a shortage of parts to replace defective components. If necessary, it will fix any problems and replace defective parts with new parts of the same type.

Mitsubishi Fuso will pay the cost of repairs and replacement of parts for owners of vehicles that Mitsubishi Fuso plans to recall.

The company said it has not yet calculated the cost of both inspections and repairs.

Mitsubishi Fuso will post information on the inspections on its Web site, advertise them on posters that will be displayed at its dealerships and also via direct mail.