• Jun 30th 2009 at 2:57PM
  • 23
2009 Toyota Prius - Click above for high-res image gallery

We'd wager that the last thing Toyota wants in the midst of the super-important launch of its new third-generation Prius is a negative stigma attached to the previous model. Unfortunately, that's exactly what the Japanese automaker may have on its hands right now as a number of owners of 2005-2008 Toyota Prius hybrids with the "high-intensity discharge" (HID) headlight option are banding together on online forums, message boards and in possible class action lawsuits against the automaker in relation to failing headlamps.

According to Advertising Age, these HID headlight bulbs and their associated electronics can sometimes cost well over $1,000 to replace after they've gone faulty, and Toyota is unwilling to pick up the tab. At least one lawsuit was filed last month by Girard Gibbs in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on behalf of a Putnam County, N.Y., Prius owner. The suit contends that the problem is a "dangerous but undisclosed safety defect" and alleges that "Toyota is concealing the problems from owners" despite having been "long been aware of Prius' HID headlight problem." It's possible that the suit will get class-action status.

The NHTSA has reportedly filed a preliminary investigation into the issue and contacted Toyota on May 13 regarding the 338 complaints it has received so far from Prius owners regarding the HID headlamps. Spokesmen from Toyota have said the automaker is cooperating with the NHTSA in its investigation, which may or may not end up calling for an official recall.

[Source: Advertising Age]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      I own a 2006 Prius with the HID lighting package and generally have to turn my headlamps off and on 2 times before they will remain on. I never had them replaced because Toyota told me they couldn't find a problem. They just never could get them to fail in their shop. I wonder what I should do to twist their arm to take care of this.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I have a 2006 Prius that, as of today, is starting on its THIRD set of headlamps. The car only has 40,000 miles on it! Dealer won't cover this set, so there goes $300...and that's just for a single lamp that was replaced today...I'm sure the other one will go soon. NHTSA needs to issue a recall and Toyota needs to man up and actually fix this problem.

      You know what? If it acts like a lemon, drives like a lemon and COSTS like a lemon...
      It's a LEMON.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Guess what! I'm one of the Prius owners with the problem mentioned above. It is a nightmare. The headlamps will literally just randomly turn off, sometimes one or the other, sometimes both. I am waiting for the recall...
      • 8 Months Ago
      Hi All,

      I am one of the victim of Toyata Pirus accidents, I was a visitor to Norway and rented a car (Toyata Pirus) for weekend travel me and 3 other friends planned to visit a place Hardanger Fjord on our way we met with accident, me and another friend survived, but we did not have any clue on what went wrong. I suspect it must be the peddle in the Pirus defect issue.

      Anyways the reason I am writing is to check if any one could help me fight legal battle to get compensation more so I don't belong to norway, and the car we traveled was a rental one.. :-(
      Any help appreciated
      • 8 Months Ago
      For automatic updates on Action taken against Toyota on the headlight issue, How to do it yourself, Class Action updates, and other info become a Fan of this page

      - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Prius-HID-Class-Action/195351592664?ref=ts

      To see a Video on how to change the your headlights yourself for only 50 bucks go to the Facebook Page and watch this video

      - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QPvUgs9Bgo
      • 8 Months Ago
      LED [url=" http://www.racepages.com/parts/headlight_assembly.html"]headlight assembly[/url/ should be fairly available nowadays. Aside from that, i think most cars should convert into these more reliable and sufficient lights aside from the traditional ones. Once most of the cars have this kind of headlight assembly, I think the prices will be narrowed down. Anyways, since Toyota started it, they should have made the headlights more affordable for their costumers.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I have a 2006 Prius that had both HID headlights changed under warranty. But if I recall correctly; if it wasn't under warranty, it would have been $600/light. That occurred the latter part of 2006. Recently my right headlight went out and I found out that the 2006 Prius could have a $175 HID or a $400 HID (without tax). Fortunately, it was the former. My mechanic had figured out how change the HID without taking off the front bumper. So as I watched him work, he changed my HID resulting in less labor cost. However, this is still something I would not try to do since it requires tools that I don't have, patients, and knowledge of the headlight assembly. Since this was only his second Pruis, he still took some time. But he probably would get better if he changed more lights and his cost would probably decrease too. But I do agree with those who have had headlight problems. It just seems that these headlights burn out too quickly compared to my 2004 Infinity G35 that has yet to have a HID headlight replaced.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Toyota does not have a truckload of money at its disposal and not very many assets to sell. They burned through one third of their available cash last quarter and did not make a profit.

      They need to handle this with class and speed. They don't need an image hit from something like this. A small problem like this can turn into a HUGE issue and before you know it, the Prius Gen3 is the new Playstation 3... an embarrasing sales failure.
        • 8 Months Ago

        I think it is hilarious that you posted a link to the "most admired" portion of CNN Money, an entire section based on opinions and not economics... GM made it into the same "Most Admired List" and if I remember correctly, they are not doing so well financially.
        • 8 Months Ago

        Toyota burned 6 billion of 18 billion in capital. This has not affected their market share or Fortune 500 ranking because it is mostly based on market share and product and every auto company is not doing well. But Ford is losing less and has more in savings as well as more assets (brands to sell) to raise capital. Toyota doesn't... it is simple economics. Look it up.
        • 8 Months Ago
        For the record, I own a 2009 Black Prius without the HID and have NEVER had any issues with it. :-)
        • 8 Months Ago
        "They burned through one third of their available cash last quarter and did not make a profit."

        And yet Fortune calls it the largest and richest auto manufacturer in the world.

      • 8 Months Ago
      I wonder how they're dying. HIDs can be dangerous if the protective UV shield breaks.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Just went through the replacement of the HID headlights on our 2006 Prius. We had just received the Toyota letter concerning the problem when the right headlight went out. I took it to the dealer and was told the front bumper had to be removed to replace it at a cost of $200 labor. I decided to replace both because of the labor cost. I was charged $166.83 per bulb in spite of Toyota's letter that the charge was $150. I did get a senior discount of 15%, but the bill came to $495.81. I called Toyota and complained and they offered to refund me $150 on the labor. I am not satisfied with this and will write and ask for a full refund. This is ridiculous. and the bulb is only guaranteed for one year at that.

      Coupled with this, I discovered that when the headlights are turned on, the glove box light also goes on and stays on. This was also true of our 2007 Prius. I took it to the dealer and the dealer found that all the Prius's in the dealership also had the same problem. I think this car was designed by idiots. I was a big promoter until now and will not even contemplate buying another one. Both of our cars only have a little over 20,000 miles on them, anyway. I will be looking at American cars in the future.

      Jack, a discussed Prius owner
      • 8 Months Ago
      Toyota is addressing this problem the same way they did the Corrolla oil sludge issue - deny, deny, deny.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Toyota paid $800.00 to replace one of my headlights on my 2006 Prius. Later, Toyota paid $1800.00 to replace both headlights.
      Recently, one of my headlights stopped working again. My Toyota dealer told me that Toyota refuses to pay for any more of my headlights. This time, I had to pay $800.00 for the repair.
      Seems that there is a problem here. I've been driving for 56 years and never have run into a situation like this.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X