Japan - Toyota recalls 437,000 Prius, hybrids globally due to brake problems
Dateline: Tokyo, various dates
Date: 02/10/2010 12:00 AM
Toyota gets 77 complaints in Japan about brake problems with Prius hybrid
FILE: October 2009
1. Various of Toyota Prius hybrid on display at the Tokyo Motor Show
Prius brake problems
Tokyo - February 04 2010
2. Various exteriors of Toyota Tokyo headquarters
Toyota seeks damage control
Tokyo, Japan - 10 February 2010
3. Various of engineers working on the car
4. Prius being driven out of dealership
In February 2010 Toyota dealers across the globe were preparing for the fallout from the company's latest recall of about 440-thousand Prius and other hybrid vehicles worldwide.
The recall is to fix a problem with brakes, which some drivers have reported as being momentarily unresponsive in certain driving conditions.
The announcement is the latest in a series of safety faults.
Toyota began its recall of 223-thousand cars in Japan with a trickle of owners turning up at dealerships for the requisite repairs.
The Prius is Japan's top-selling car and the world's top-selling hybrid car.
The automaker is also recalling two other hybrid models in Japan, the Lexus HS250h sedan and the Sai.
In Australia, Toyota announced it was recalling 2378 Prius cars that have been sold in the country since July 2009.
Owners of models built between April 2009 and January this year will be contacted by post to arrange no-cost repairs - which Toyota says will take one hour.
Spokesman Glenn Campbell said the Toyota Australia had acted "as quickly and as soon as we need to act", after receiving the recall notice from the company .
Toyota is running apologetic TV ads and vowing to win back customers' trust as part of an all-out drive by the world's biggest auto manufacturer to redeem its once unassailable brand.
The company was hit anew as its global recall ballooned to 8.5 (m) million cars and trucks.
In the United States, Toyota is facing congressional inquiries and government investigations, and the company is trying to salvage its reputation with the help of its lawyers and lobbyists.
There have been about 200 complaints in Japan and the US about a delay when the brakes in the Prius were pressed in cold conditions and on some bumpy roads.
The delay doesn't indicate a brake failure.
"It's kind of scary if you didn't ever experience it before, so my first time experiencing it did scare me," said one Toyota owner in New Jersey who had experienced the fault.
The company says the problem can be fixed in 40 minutes with new software that oversees the controls of the antilock brakes.
Toyota will recall 133-thousand Prius cars and 14-thousand Lexus HS250h vehicles in the US.
US owners will start receiving letters about the recall next week.
Nearly 53-thousand Prius vehicles are also being recalled in Europe.
Other car faults include floor mats, which can trap gas pedals and faulty gas pedals that are slow to return to the idle position.