TOKYO - Mitsubishi Motors Corp., whose truck-making affiliate might conduct the fifth recall since March of defective vehicles, said Tuesday that its biggest shareholder, DaimlerChrysler AG, may demand compensation for the unit's quality problems.
DaimlerChrysler, the world's fifth-largest carmaker, may seek payment on the basis of a contract signed when it bought some of the Japanese carmaker's stake in Mitsubishi Fuso & Truck Corp., Mitsubishi Motors said in a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
DaimlerChrysler owns 65 percent of Mitsubishi Fuso.
The defects in Mitsubishi Fuso vehicles, linked to as many as 90 reported accidents including two deaths, have prompted Japan's Transport Ministry to require all automakers to submit quarterly reports on safety problems. Police have investigated cover-ups of faults by Fuso when it was controlled by Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Motors and have arrested seven former executives on May 6.
DaimlerChrysler is investigating whether to take legal action, Thomas Froehlich, a spokesman, said. The Stuttgart, Germany-based carmaker, which is the owner of Auburn Hills-based Chrysler Group, has sent a letter to Mitsubishi but hasn't filed a legal claim.
"This is a routine matter that we're obliged to do on behalf of our shareholders," Froehlich said in a phone interview. "This should not impact the relationship on a working level."
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