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Feb. 5 2010 - 10:34 am | 331 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

Recall the recall! Toyota Prius brake problem under ‘investigation’

Toyota Prius (ZVW30)

Image via Wikipedia

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.

(via U.S. safety official open investigation into Toyota Prius brakes, USA Today)

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.

(via Toyota’s Chief Steps Forward to Apologize for Problems, The New York Times)

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.


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    About Me

    I'm an automotive journalist based in New York City and a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Edmunds.com, Gaywheels.com, CarandDriver.com, Bimmer magazine and many other well-respected publications.

    I recently spent nearly 5 years in the wilds of Paris, France, where I was reporting about the European and Indian automotive world. But no matter where I am, there is always a great car story waiting to be told.

    I've poked my head under the hood of a New Delhi taxicab, worked the pits at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and driven 197-mph on the German autobahn.

    Now that I'm back in the U.S. - along with Matthew, my partner of 10 years - it's thrilling to get reacquainted with N.Y.C. and American car culture.

    I love my job no matter if I'm driving some jaw-dropping exotic car or, much more likely, hunting for a parking spot in my downtown neighborhood.

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