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Production of the Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid has restarted in Japan after being halted in March due to a manufacturing fault, but it has resulted in a delayed Australian launch for the petrol-electric SUV.

The Japan Times reports Mitsubishi Motors Corporation resumed production of the plug-in Outlander SUV this week after production and sales were suspended following the discovery that a fault caused one lithium-ion battery pack to melt and another to catch fire.

With the fault traced back to short circuits caused by workers dropping the batteries and applying excessive force to the them during a screening process, the report says the car maker has since changed batteries and taken preventive measures.

The battery fault also resulted in the recall of 4313 Outlander plug-in hybrids in June, along with 17 i-MiEVs and 98 Minicab i-MiEVs.

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Launched in Japan in January, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV combines two electric motors with a 70kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine generator and a 12kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

Mitsubishi Australia’s corporate communications manager Caitlin Beale confirmed to CarAdvice that the production delay will push back the local launch of the Outlander PHEV from its original mid-year date to quarter one 2014.

Local pricing and specification details are expected closer to the launch.




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