Mitsubishi to recall some 2004-05 Lancer sedans in U.S. with defective Takata airbags

DETROIT (Reuters) -- Mitsubishi Motors Corp. is recalling cars made with Takata Corp. airbags in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mitsubishi is one of nine automakers to say it will conduct a recall that includes those areas.

In a filing posted Friday with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mitsubishi said it will conduct a limited recall of model year 2004-05 Lancer sedans with Takata passenger-side airbags that have inflators that may cause them to open with too much force.

"In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the passenger-side frontal airbag, the inflator could rupture with metal fragments striking and potentially seriously injuring the vehicle occupants," NHTSA said on its website.

A Mitsubishi spokesman said that the company is "still investigating" how many Lancer sedans will be involved in the recall.

In the past five years, about 12 million vehicles with Takata airbags or inflators have been recalled.

Also on Friday, the Japanese auto parts supplier announced a quarterly "special loss" of about 45 billion yen ($440 million) because of the problem.

Like most of the automakers that have launched recalls, Mitsubishi, at NHTSA's request, limited the recall to a portion of the United States and U.S. territories.

"Due to NHTSA's belief that humidity is a contributing factor to the inflator condition at issue, the (recall) will be limited to affected vehicles that are registered in, or were originally sold in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands," Mitsubishi said in one of its letters to NHTSA.

Some of the automakers have expanded that to include other warm-weather states or the entire country.

Mitsubishi said it knew of no crashes, injuries or deaths related to Lancer sedans with Takata airbags. It said that it has not found any safety defect on its own and is recalling the cars because it is working "in good faith" with NHTSA.

Earlier this week, BMW said it would recall 1.6 million 3-series models with Takata front passenger-side airbags.

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