Toyota is issuing a worldwide recall for three of its hybrid models due to a potential fire risk.
The service action covers the Toyota Prius, the world’s most popular hybrid-electric vehicle, as well as the newer Prius plug-in hybrid and the C-HR hybrid SUV. According to the automaker, The problem involves a wiring harness that has been linked to at least one incident in which a short-circuit caused smoke to pour out of a vehicle in Japan.
According to Toyota, the problem occurs the wiring harness can come into contact with the cover of the hybrid power control unit. If dust accumulates on either the cover or the wiring harness, the insulation on the wires can wear down over time and eventually result in a short-circuit.
“If sufficient heat is generated, there is an increased risk of a vehicle fire,” a Toyota spokesman explained.
So far, only one incident has been reported, the automaker said, with no injuries involved.
(Ford investigating reports of Ford F-150 fires. Click Here for the details.)
All told, 1.03 million Toyota hybrids will be affected by the recall, with more than half of them sold in Japan. About 200,000 were sold in the U.S., with the rest marketed in Europe and other parts of the world. The recall covers hybrids produced between June 2015 and May 2018.
Only the Prius will be impacted in the States. Toyota plans to alert American owners through recall notices set to go out next month. All repairs will be made at no cost to motorists.
The Prius was the world’s first mass-market hybrid, introduced in Japan in 1997. Toyota expanded sales to the U.S. and other global markets three years later. Prius has long been the world’s most popular HEV and, at its peak earlier in the decade, was the single best-selling vehicle in California, though demand has slid over the last several years.
Toyota has had some problems with the hybrid, however. It had to recall an earlier version due to problems with the software controlling its “blended” brakes – which combine conventional, friction brakes and a system used to “regenerate” energy normal wasted when a vehicle is slowed.
In 2016, Prius faced its biggest recall ever, Toyota targeting 1.7 million of the hybrids due to problems with their airbags and parking brakes.
(Fiat Chrysler recalling 1.5 million Ram pickups. Click Here for more.)
Auto industry recalls have been running at or near record levels in recent years. That is, in part, due to an industry push to address safety problems after a crackdown by government regulators. It also reflects the fact that manufacturers share parts on a wide range of models, quickly running up the numbers if there is a problem.