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Mitsubishi Recalls Almost 4,000 Hybrid SUVs on Possible Fault

Mitsubishi Motors Corp. recalled almost 4,000 of its Outlander plug-in hybrid sport-utility vehicles in Japan because of a possible defect with the auto’s motor controls computer program.

The automaker called back 3,839 of the SUVs because the vehicle’s computer control system may not function properly, Namie Koketsu, a spokeswoman for Tokyo-based Mitsubishi, said by telephone today. No injuries or accidents have been reported, she said.

Today’s recall adds to the hybrid’s woes after Mitsubishi in March reported flaws in lithium-ion batteries used in the model. The company said it is investigating and hasn’t announced a recall over battery malfunctions.

In addition, Mitsubishi also is recalling 18 of the plug-in Outlanders in Japan because a components supplier said the parts may not have been properly inspected to be safe, said Koketsu. Fourteen of the cars may have a defect with their generators, while four may have an malfunction with the front motor, she said, declining to identify the parts supplier.

Today’s recall doesn’t relate to the plug-in hybrid’s lithium-ion batteries, Koketsu said. The batteries were produced at a factory that the carmaker owns jointly with GS Yuasa Corp. and Mitsubishi Corp.

Mitsubishi Motors fell 1.9 percent to close at 105 yen in Tokyo trading. The stock has added 18 percent in 2013, compared with a 30 percent gain for Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

Plane Batteries

Kyoto-based GS Yuasa makes lithium-ion batteries at the same plant that were used in Boeing Co. 787 jets. GS Yuasa and Boeing have said the Mitsubishi vehicle batteries are different from those used in the 787s.

The global fleet of 49 Dreamliners was grounded Jan. 16 after lithium-ion batteries on two separate planes overheated and melted, causing flights to be canceled.

Mitsubishi Motors on March 27 asked customers not to charge the plug-in hybrid Outlander externally until it identifies the cause of the malfunctions. One battery caught fire while being tested at a factory and another melted in an electric car, said the company, which stopped producing and shipping the model after these problems were reported.

The carmaker hadn’t issued a recall because it didn’t know what caused the battery malfunction, Masao Omichi, a senior executive officer at Mitsubishi, told reporters in Tokyo on April 10.

The plug-in hybrid Outlander went on sale in Japan on Jan. 24. Mitsubishi Motors sold 4,305 of the model as of the end of March, according to company figures.

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