Recall the recall! Toyota Prius brake problem under ‘investigation’
This about as good as good news can get at Toyota – and, trust me, the news really isn’t all that good.
Despite media reports that the 2010 Toyota Prius would be recalled due to problems with its ABS brakes, the Japanese auto giant has confirmed the matter is presently under investigation by the NHTSA and not subject to a formal recall. Well, at least not yet.
The government is opening a formal investigation into the brakes of the 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid sedan. It comes only hours after the automaker in Japan acknowledged problems, but is yet to commit to another recall there.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said today it will look specifically at whether the Prius’ brakes stop working momentarily after the car hits a bump:
It says its Office of Defects Investigation has received 124 complaints about Prius brakes from consumers, including four reports in which crashes are alleged to have occurred. Investigators have spoken with consumers and conducted pre-investigatory field work, the agency said.
Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, said during a press conference this morning that the company deeply regrets the ongoing recalls and will do everything it can to correct the situation. Questions about the safety of the 2010 Prius come after Toyota’s announcement of two other recalls, one for floor mats which can jam the accelerator and another for sticking gas pedals. Those recalls affect approximately 9 million Toyota vehicles worldwide.
As for the current situation, Mr. Toyoda appeared to be under no illusions as to how serious this crisis has become. In a report published by The New York Times, he offered apologies to Toyota owners and shareholders.
“I deeply regret that I caused concern among so many people,” Mr. Toyoda said. “We will do our utmost to regain the trust of our customers.”
Asked whether Toyota had underestimated the situation, Mr. Toyoda said, “I believe what is happening now is a very big problem. We are in a crisis.”
Mr. Toyoda also apologized to shareholders for the fall in the company’s share price. The company’s stock has dropped about 20 percent in the last two weeks.
That is a dramatic turnaround for a company which, only earlier this week, was termed “safety deaf” by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood when discussing the automakers slow response to recall its vehicles.