Toyota recalling Prius in Japan
US cars may be included later
Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda will hold a news conference at the automaker’s Tokyo office later today to outline details of the braking problem, including plans for a possible recall in the United States, a company official told the Associated Press.
The number of Priuses being recalled would swell to about 300,000 if there is a recall in the United States and other regions.
The braking problem for the third-generation remodeled Prius is the latest safety woe for Toyota, which is already trying to fix problems in millions of vehicles recalled for other defects, including a sticky gas pedal.
Toyota Motor Corp. said it will inform the Transport Ministry later in the day it is recalling the 2010 Prius gas-electric hybrid - the world’s top-selling hybrid car.
Also being recalled are two other hybrid models - the Lexus HS250h sedan, sold in the United States and Japan, and the Sai, which is sold only in Japan.
US safety officials have launched an investigation into problems with the brakes.
The recall in Japan will cover about 170,000 of the 2010 model Prius, which went on sale in May. The automaker has fixed the programming glitch in Prius models that went on sale since last month, but had done nothing yet on the cars sold before then, according to Toyota.
There have been nearly 200 complaints in Japan and the United States of drivers experiencing a short delay before the brakes kick in - a problem that can be fixed with a software programming change. The delay doesn’t indicate a brake failure.
The problem is suspected in four crashes resulting in two minor injuries, according to data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is investigating the matter. Toyota says it’s cooperating with NHTSA’s investigation.
Toyota said its plug-in hybrid, a largely experimental model, is also being recalled in Japan.
Toyota is in the midst of repairing 5 million vehicles recalled in the United States because of problems with floor mats, which can trap gas pedals. It also has recalled 2.3 million vehicles because of concerns that their gas pedals are slow to return to the idle position.
Problems with hybrid braking systems haven’t been limited to Toyota.