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Toyota Officially Recalls 430,000 Prius Hybrids – but Do More Problems Exist?

TheDetroitBureau’s exclusive report cautions earlier Prius model-years may also have brake problems.

by on Feb.09, 2010

Prius under the microscope: 2010 models recalled, but could braking problems plague earlier models?

Admitting his company is not “infallable,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda today announced the recall of 430,000 Prius hybrids worldwide, saying it is time for the embattled automaker to “face up to the facts” and deal with its safety problems.

The recall involves not only the latest, 2010 Prius but also another dedicated hybrid, the new Lexus HS250h.  About 127,500 vehicles are being called back in the U.S., while another 53,000 are involved in Europe.  The vast bulk of the recall affects hybrids sold in Japan, where the Prius is not just the best-selling gasoline-electric model but the top seller among all vehicles sold in Toyota’s home market.

“I don’t see Toyota as an infallible company that never makes mistakes,” said a chastened President and CEO Akio Toyoda, during a Tokyo press conference today. “We will face up to the facts and correct the problem, putting customers’ safety and convenience first.”

But even as Toyota steps up with a recall for the third-generation Prius model, which it launched last spring – addressing a problem TheDetroitBureau.com first reported on December 24, 2009 – this magazine finds there could be further brake issues with Toyota’s most popular hybrid not covered by the new service action. Click Here for the complete story.

(Prius owners with complaints should report them to the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or http://www.safercar.gov, and Toyota at 800-331-433. Have your VIN number in front of you when you call. )

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An investigative report uncovered a sizable number of complaints to federal regulators that involve Prius vehicles sold prior to the 2010 model-year.  It is yet unclear precisely how serious the potential issue is, or how extensive, but a number of owners tell TheDetroitBureau.com they experience the same sort of momentary brake loss Toyota now plans to correct on the 2010 hybrids.

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