Construction-use crane maker Tadano Ltd. (6395.TO) said Friday that it is recalling some 10,000 crane vehicles after a faulty steering system caused a fatal accident in August.
Due to the Japanese company’s late response, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has issued a warning against Tadano to improve its business operations.
The news sent Tadano shares into tailspin. The shares were down 8.3% at Y431 around 0500 GMT on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average was up 0.1%.
The move mirrors a recent massive recall of trucks by Mitsubishi Fuso & Bus Corp. due to long-running defect cover-ups and some fatal accidents.
In the August 2004 Tadano accident, a crane vehicle become uncontrollable and collided with a passenger car on the opposite lane, killing one woman and injured five others in Okawaya, western Japan.
Tadano’s crane vehicles have had five similar accidents since 1996.
The accidents occurred when the vehicle was moving after finishing crane operations. When the driver’s seat was turned around, the crane’s reverse steering system didn’t revert to normal steering due to faulty parts and human error.
Tadano said a total of 15,278 crane vehicles manufactured between 1983 and 1998 are subject to the recall. It will equip the crane vehicles with fail-safe devices. The firm estimates the actual number to be recalled will be about 10, 000 vehicles, as many vehicles will have aged or already been scrapped.
Tadano said that it expects expenses related to the recall to total Y150 million, but these costs will have only a minor impact on its earnings.
The company said it is keeping intact its group net profit outlook at Y3.3 billion on estimated sales of Y100 billion for this fiscal year ending March.
Komatsu Ltd. (6301.TO) and Kobelco Cranes Co., a unit of Kobe Steel Ltd. ( 5406.TO), said their crane vehicles had also accidents as their reverse steering system switches were on by mistake. The two companies are considering steps including recalls.
-By Hiroyuki Kachi, Dow Jones Newswires; 813-5255-2929; hiroyuki.kachi@ dowjones.com
-Edited by Bennett Richardson