Police raided the headquarters of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. again Sunday and searched the president’s office for evidence of a coverup involving customer complaints.
It is the second time MMC, which is suspected of violating the Road Trucking Vehicle Law, has been raided in two weeks.
If the automaker is found to have broken the law, however, it would face a maximum fine of only up to 1 million yen.
Police plan to question company executives, including President Katsuhiko Kawasoe, as early as in mid-September.
Kawasoe said late last month that three board members were “vaguely” aware of the coverup but that he himself did not know. Earlier, the company was denying that any senior officials had known of the coverup.
The police raid concerns suspicions that the firm failed to completely report all consumer complaints filed against its vehicles during Transport Ministry inspections of its head office conducted in July and last November.
MMC was later found to have systematically concealed consumer complaints filed through sales agents since at least 1977.
In addition, of the 88,000 customer complaints received since April 1998, 64,000, or more than 70 percent, had been hidden from authorities.
At the urging of the ministry, the automaker conducted an internal inspection and announced the recall of 532,000 vehicles on July 26. Later, on Aug. 22, MMC announced another recall, of about 88,000 vehicles.
The automaker has admitted to concealing customer complaints for more than 30 years since the recall system was adopted in 1969.
Automakers are obliged to report complaints about defects in their vehicles and repair them free of charge when serious problems are found. But investigators believe MMC plants secretly repaired defective vehicles that should have been recalled by the company’s headquarters.
Kawasoe has already indicated his plan to step down over the fiasco, and MMC sources said over the weekend that Vice President Takashi Sonobe would take over as president.
The decision was made after DaimlerChrysler AG, which holds a 34 percent stake in MMC, refused the automaker’s request to send a top manager to replace Kawasoe, the sources said.
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