The latest version of the world's most popular hybrid has so far been excluded from the Toyota recall mess. While we've heard of brake problems with the third-gen Prius – and Seve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc., complained as well – it wasn't until yesterday that Toyota admitted that there is a software problem in the 2010 Prius. The Prius is still technically not part of the recall, but the company changed the software in January and will now need to deal with all of the 2010 Priuses built and sold before then.
As we speculated yesterday, the problem comes from the way the Prius' complicated anti-lock brake system can have a lag when driving on uneven or frozen surfaces. Over 100 complaints about the issue were filed with the NHTSA in the past year. As far as anyone knows, second-generation Prius models (2004-2009 model years) are not affected by the brake issue. Keep up with Autoblog's full coverage of the Toyota recall here. Toyota's UK office said there were no problems with the 2010 Prius there. Read the statement after the jump.
*UPDATE: NHTSA opens official investigation.
[Source: CNN, AP]
TOYOTA STATEMENT ON PRIUS BRAKING ISSUE
No problems reported in UK or Europe
Toyota GB PLC can confirm that there have been no reported problems in the UK or Europe with the braking performance of the current, third-generation Prius, since its launch in August 2009.
Toyota dealers in North America and Japan have notified Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) that they have received complaints related to brakes in the current-generation Prius. There have been no reports of any accidents or injuries related to this issue.
In their complaints, customers reported inconsistent brake feel when the brakes are slowly applied and the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) is activated, when driving over potholes, bumps, or slippery road surfaces.
On the basis of the information provided, and Toyota's investigation into the reported problems, Toyota did not find that vehicle safety was compromised. However, Toyota will continue to investigate the issues one by one, including whether or not we regard this to be a safety issue.
Toyota made a change to the software in the ABS control on the current, third generation Prius in late January this year. This was done to alleviate a control-related phenomenon Toyota identified as the source of the problems reported by its customers.
This type of change during production is part of Toyota's strategy of making incremental improvements to its vehicles, to continue offering better quality vehicles to its customers.
Miguel Fonseca, Managing Director Toyota GB, said: "We can assure Prius owners that no safety issue has been identified with the braking system fitted to their cars, and that no problems have been reported by customers in the UK or Europe. With safety as our main concern, Toyota will continue to investigate thoroughly any problems that are reported."