TOKYO - Daihatsu Motor Co., a Toyota Motor Corp. unit, received a slap on the wrist from Japan's Transport Ministry for its attempts to avoid recalling some 507,000 defective models.
More substantially, Daihatsu President Iichi Shingu said the recall will cost more than ¥4 billion, or about $33 million at current exchange rates. The cost of the recall will be booked in the fiscal year that began April 1, he said.
The ministry presented Daihatsu with a written recommendation that defective Hijet, Midget II, Atrai and Hijet van models be recalled after it learned that Daihatsu had made repairs to 15 cars whose owners complained. In some cases, smoke poured from the defective cars' dashboards. Daihatsu failed to offer repairs to other owners' cars.
None of the affected models was exported.
It was the ministry's first recall recommendation since the current recall system took effect in January 1995.
Toyota owns 51 percent of Daihatsu. Daihatsu specializes in minivehicles, those with engines under 660cc.
The affected cars suffer from a defective blinker switch that could cause a fire, according to the ministry.
In addition, the ministry issued a written warning, a less serious step than a recommendation, to Dai-hatsu over its reluctance to recall another 67,000 units for less serious faults, including a faulty rubber seal in a fuel injector in turbo-equipped models and a damaged shift cable.