TOKYO -- DaimlerChrysler AG's scandal-hit Japanese truck unit apologized on Tuesday for late defect reports including for vehicles that had been repaired once, showing the firm has yet to put quality issues behind it.
The apology came after Japanese media reported at the weekend that the Transport Ministry would question Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. over several new defect cases involving fires in its vehicles, none of which involved fatalities.
The unlisted truck maker, spun off from Mitsubishi Motors Corp. in 2003 and now owned 85 percent by DaimlerChrysler, has been scrutinized in the media after admitting last year it had illegally covered up defects over eight years.
In the latest case, Fuso found on Dec. 14 a failure in the air suspension of a heavy-duty truck that had already been repaired as part of a recall filing between mid-September and mid-December last year.
In subsequent months, Fuso learned that some repaired vehicles were catching fire, but continued to investigate the problems internally without informing the Transport Ministry or the public.
"Although there was no organizational cover-up of information by intention, obviously we have been focused too much on the analysis and solution finding," Fuso President Wilfried Porth said in a statement.
"We did not live up to the high expectations for fast and full disclosure of quality issues at Fuso," he said, adding the company would seek measures to prevent a recurrence.
Mitsubishi Motors, also reeling from plunging sales caused by a poor brand image, said separately on Tuesday it expected to post a special loss of about 70 billion yen ($652.7 million) from its payment of damages to DaimlerChrysler for the quality problems at Fuso.
The loss had been factored into its widened net loss forecast of 472 billion yen for the business year ending this month, Mitsubishi Motors added.
Earlier this month, Mitsubishi Motors and DaimlerChrysler agreed on a settlement calling for the Japanese automaker to pay an unspecified cash sum and transfer its remaining 20 percent stake in Fuso to the German company.
Fuso has recalled nearly 1 million trucks and buses since May last year and has suffered plunging sales in Japan, where Porth has been fighting a losing battle to improve the brand's image.