In yet another blow to the world’s largest automaker, Toyota Motor Corp. announced Tuesday a global recall of its flagship Prius and other gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles.
Toyota executives still insisted during a news conference that they weren’t required to do the recall because the problematic brakes “meet safety standards.”
An additional 437,000 vehicles including Prius and Lexus will be recalled by Toyota worldwide. Of those 155,000 vehicles will be recalled in the U.S. including 139,000 2010 Prius third generation and 16,000 Lexus models HS250h, reports ABC News.
In Japan, four hybrids will be recalled – the 2010 Prius and Sai model, the Lexus HS250h and the Prius Plug-In Hybrid. ABC reports the latter three models were introduced in the country last year.
In a statement that avoids placing blame, Toyota says it decided to update software that controls the antilock braking system brakes to be “in accordance with the spirit" of those standards.
Toyota Executives Speak
In an effort to reach out and assure the public, CEO Akio Toyoda said, "that we will re-double our commitment to quality as a lifeline of our company with myself taking the lead."
On Friday, Toyoda emerged from seclusion to apologize to the public and tried to address the mishandling of the crisis over the Toyota sticking gas pedals. At that time, he stopped short of ordering a Prius recall.
The fix will take about 40 minutes per vehicle. The process of notifying U.S. automobile owners has not been finalized, though Japan will begin today to notify hybrid owners.
What to do in the meantime? Brake firmly, says Toyota.
In a separate recall, Toyota has also issued a recall for 7,300 latest-model Camrys in the U.S. to fix a power steering pressure hose that could lead to a break and cause a leaking of brake fluid. Last year the Prius was Toyota’s third-best selling American car behind the Camry and Corolla, reports the New York Times.
February 25, hearings before a House subcommittee will try to determine when Toyota first knew of the problem with sudden acceleration and braking.
Consumer advocate, Ralph Nader, tells IB News that the automaker has been subject to six NHTSA unintentional acceleration and product defect petitions since 2003. They are not part of the recall. There was a recall of the Toyota Lexus 200 in Britain in 2000.
ABC News asked at the news conference Toyoda first heard of the Prius problem.
He said (translated), “I cannot recall the exact month and day when we were notified first. I constantly receive all sorts of information. The department of quality control closely review each aspect to guarantee the quality. If you ask when, the answer is this year.” #