Toyota has not received any reports of accidents as a result of either problem, and says the inspections and replacement work should be completed in around one hour.
The recalls also affect 496,000 vehicles in Europe and a further 1.5 million in Japan. All told, the steering shaft recall covers 10 models worldwide, including the Corolla and Wish models manufactured in Japan between 2000 and 2009. Five models are affected by the water pump recall, though we're still waiting for confirmation from Toyota as to which they are. You can read the full Toyota press release below, covering the US-spec Prius issues, for more information.
UPDATE: We've heard back from Toyota about the two recall issues reported on this morning, and have a bit of clarification on the models in question, worldwide, now.
Prius is the only model affected by the water pump issue. As we indicated earlier, the faulty water pump could cause the electric motor to shut down, which then causes the ECU to shut down the gasoline engine, as well.
The other nine models affected by the steering shaft issue (which is unrelated to the water pump issue) are mostly Japanese Domestic Market vehicles: Allex, Avensis, Corolla, Corolla Feilder, Corolla Run X, Corolla Spacio, Isis, WiLL VS and Wish.
We also have a breakdown of the number of vehicles affected by both recalls, by world market. 670k in the US, 1.5 million in Japan, 15k in Canada, 496k in Europe, 3,800 in China, 35k in Oceania, 1,500 in the Middle East and a total of 12,600 in "other" regions.
TORRANCE, Calif., Nov. 14, 2012 – Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS), will conduct two safety recalls involving Prius vehicles as part of the recall announced today by Toyota Motor Corporation.
Approximately 670,000 Prius vehicles are being recalled in the United States to inspect and in some cases replace the steering intermediate extension shaft.
Due to insufficient hardness treatment of some of the extension shafts, the splines that connect the extension shaft to the steering gear box may deform if the steering wheel is frequently and forcefully turned to the full left or full right position while driving at slow speeds. This deformation may create increased internal clearance and the splines may eventually, over time, wear out.
Toyota dealers will inspect the extension shaft to determine if it needs to be replaced and, if confirmed, will replace it. The inspection and repair will take approximately one hour depending on the dealer's work schedule.
Approximately 350,000 of these same Prius vehicles are also being recalled to replace the electric water pump for the hybrid system.
In the hybrid system, there is an electrically driven water pump that circulates coolant through the hybrid components to provide cooling. There is a possibility that the electric motor installed in the water pump may stop functioning, leading to illumination of various warning lights in the instrument panel. In limited instances, the electric power supply circuit fuse may open, causing the hybrid system to stop while the vehicle is being driven.
Toyota dealers will replace the electric water pump for the hybrid system. The repair will take approximately two hours depending on the dealer's work schedule.
There have been no crashes or injuries reported for these two conditions. Owners of vehicles covered by these safety recalls will receive an owner notification letter via first class mail starting in December 2012. Any authorized Toyota dealer will perform these recalls at no charge to the vehicle owner.
Detailed information is available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.