Mitsubishi Motors President Kazhuhiko Kawasoe apologised to Transportation Minister Hajime Morita Wednesday (26/7/00) for not reporting defects to its vehicles to industry regulators, reports Associated Press (27/7/00).

Japan`s fourth largest car manufacturer also announced that it is scaling up its recall of vehicles announced last week, from 514,000 to 532,000 vehicles, citing defects ranging from loose bolts to leaky gas caps.

The initial recall, said to be costing Mitsubishi 5 billion yen ($45.8 million), was announced after transportation officials found that the motor company did not reveal reports of consumer defects.

According to the report, Kawasoe said that an internal investigation had showed that employees who were responsible for handling consumer complaints failed to follow reporting procedure.

Mitsubishi Motors Spokesman Fumio Nishizaki said that it was unclear as to whether there was a cover-up, as its investigation had not yet determined why employees had not revealed the problems.

The company said it was unsure as to how many defective cars were sold overseas, although no accidents or injuries had been linked to the defects.

Quoting Yukikazu Komiya, an official within the Transportation Ministry`s Engineering and Safety Department, Associated Press said that the Japanese Government has yet to determine whether to fine Mitsubishi as its own investigation was still ongoing.

Sixteen models are to be recalled including the Galant Sedan and the Pajero Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV).