Japanese car manufacturer Toyota has issued a worldwide recall of their Prius hybrid cars. The recall will affect around 1.9 million cars, and deal with a software fault that causes the car to suddenly slow down. Toyota issued the recall after it had received over 400 complaints of a problem with the hybrid power system on this particular model. It is thought that so far, the problem has not led to any accidents, but it can set off warning lights which will ‘probably cause the vehicle to enter a failsafe’ mode, which will then reduce the car’s driving power.
The majority of complaints have come from Japan and North America, with three quarters from Japan, but Toyota are taking no chances and advising all owners to contact their local dealer. In the UK, the recall will affect 30,790 Prius owners, specifically cars manufactured between March 2009 and February 2014.
Toyota issued a statement in which they said: “Warning lights may be illuminated and the car is likely to switch to “failsafe” operation – it can still be driven, but with reduced power. In limited cases the hybrid system may shut down, causing the vehicle to stop.” They advised that the cars could still be driven but the power would be reduced: “The car may stop while driving, but not suddenly.”
First manufactured in 1997, the Prius was Toyota’s flagship ‘green’ car and soon became the world’s most popular hybrid model on the market. Unfortunately this is not the first recall Toyota has had to issue, and as recently as a few weeks ago, they had to halt the sale of certain car models in the US due to a problem with the seat heaters. The manufacturer has also had to deal with several high profile recalls in the last few years, including 260,000 2012 RAV4s, Tacomas and Lexus RX 350s, which explored a fault in the braking system. The most recent recall was in July 2013 and involved the Yaris and Verso-S models, which had a problem with the electric power steering system. The recall affected 5,409 cars in the UK and involved third-generation Yaris models and the Verso-S mini MPV, manufactured between November 2010 and March 2012.
Only three months previous to this recall, Toyota issued one which affected the Toyota Corolla, Yaris, Avensis, Avensis Verso, Picnic, Camry and Lexus SC430 models. There was a potentially injurious problem concerning the front passenger air bag inflators by which they could inflate improperly and harm the passenger. In this issue over 76,000 vehicles were recalled. In fact, in the last 18 months, Toyota has issued at least six recalls, but part of this Toyota state, is due to the manufacturers zero tolerance on quality issues and controls. They also have a stringent checking system which helps to flag up potential problems.
Meanwhile, back to this particular issue, Toyota state that are several ways vehicle owners can check to see if their car is affected by the recall. In the first instance, Toyota will contact vehicles which are affected by this issue, by post or telephone, where they will be asked to bring their cars into their nearest Toyota garage or centre. Owners can also check for themselves to see if their car is affected by entering their registration details on the Toyota website, to see if they need to contact the manufacturer. You can also call a specially set up recall helpline – 0800 1388744, which gives advice about which cars are affected.
Toyota advise that the update on the software will only take around 40 minutes to complete and is free of charge.
For more information visit Toyota.