Japanese automaker Toyota is recalling nearly a half million of its Prius and other hybrid cars for braking problems, sure to further shake consumer confidence in the carmaker.
The recall covers a total of 436,000 units globally, including the 2010 Prius, Sai, Prius PHV (plug-in hybrid) and Lexus HS250h.
The gas-electric Prius cars were sold from May last year through January. Toyota says a software glitch is behind the problem.
Toyota says it will begin mailing letters to Prius owners included in this recall next week and HS 250h owners within the next few weeks, to let them know when to bring their vehicles into a dealership. Owners will only receive a letter if their vehicle is involved in the recall.
At least 100 Prius drivers in the US have complained to the government that their antilock brakes seemed to fail momentarily while driving on bumpy roads. Uncontrolled acceleration has been linked to up to 19 crash deaths in the United States over the past decade. The Japanese government has also received dozens of similar complaints.
The problem is suspected in four crashes that caused two minor injuries. Toyota says the brakes will work if the driver keeps pushing the pedal. Toyota has already recalled more than 7 million vehicles in the US and other countries over defective accelerator pedals and floormats that can get caught in the pedal.
The third generation Prius is the world's top selling gas-electric hybrid. Toyota has sold more than 300,000 of the model in 60 countries.
Toyota also issued a recall on around 7,300 early production 2010 Camry models equipped with the 4 cylinder engine to inspect for a power steering hose that may be in contact with a front brake tube. The contact could lead to a hole in the brake tube and cause a brake fluid leak, increased brake pedal stroke and greater vehicle stopping distance.
Toyota says it will notify affected owners by mail starting in the middle of February.
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