DaimlerChrysler has played down any immediate prospect of suing Asian partner Mitsubishi Motors Corp. over quality problems at its Japanese truck and bus unit, Reuters said, citing a Financial Times report.

The news agency noted that the German-American car maker had said earlier this month it was considering filing damage claims against Japan’s fourth-largest carmaker in light of vehicle defects that were covered up by unlisted Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp.

But the newspaper reportedly quoted Ruediger Grube, DaimlerChrysler’s head of corporate development, as saying such a lawsuit was “not yet filed, rather we are working at the moment on addressing the Fuso quality problems.”

Reuters said the suit, if it goes ahead, could deepen the financial woes of cash-strapped MMC, which faces an uphill path to recovery after 37%-owner DaimlerChrysler suddenly pulled the plug on a financial aid package in April.

The news agency noted that DaimlerChrysler owns 65% of Fuso after paying 52 billion yen ($US474 million) this year for a bigger stake in the firm, once Mitsubishi Motors’ crown jewel, on top of $768 million it had spent initially for a 43% stake.

Fuso, which Mitsubishi Motors spun off in January 2003, has been dogged by bad publicity after revelations that it had been hiding dangerous defects from the authorities, Reuters said, adding that subsequent product recalls have alienated drivers and put a big dent in domestic sales, which MMC said last week could fall 80,000 units short of its 300,000-unit target this fiscal year.