Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp., which has acknowledged a deadly cover-up of wheel and clutch defects to avoid recalls, reportedly cut the pay of six executives and managers on Wednesday as punishment.

According to Associated Press (AP), 23 other employees were also penalised in the scandal - four who were told to stay away from work for five days and 19 others who were reprimanded.

The Tokyo-based truckmaker, 65% owned by DaimlerChrysler, reportedly said in a statement that the pay cuts involved a 30% reduction for three months for the senior executives and a 50% pay cut for one day for senior managers though it declined to give specific figures.

AP said the company is setting up panels of academics and other outsiders to improve quality control, but it acknowledged on Wednesday that fixing the problems may take time.

"As we continue our internal investigation, we cannot deny the possibility there will be more recalls," the statement reportedly said.

Associated Press noted that five former executives and workers of Mitsubishi Fuso have been charged in a cover-up of a design flaw that caused a wheel to fly off a truck and kill a pedestrian while the company, which was spun off from carmaker Mitsubishi Motors in January 2003, has also acknowledged a clutch defect cover-up in the death of a driver whose truck crashed.

AP said that, for years, both Mitsubishi Motors and Mitsubishi Fuso had denied the defects but, this year, Mitsubishi Fuso announced a recall of thousands of trucks for hub and clutch defects.

The image of both companies has been badly hurt by the cover-ups, AP said, adding that the sale of Mitsubishi cars plunged nearly 60% year on year in May.