In the least surprising announcement of the day, Toyota has officially announced that it would recall 2010 model Priuses and Lexus HS250h models in globally along with the Toyota Sai in Japan to fix an issue the performance of the brake system. The latest in a series of safety-related problems with Toyotas became public last week when Toyota acknowledged that customers of the third-generation hybrid had complained of a loss of stopping power at low speeds.
Toyota also acknowledged that it had developed a software update to improve the blending of the regenerative and friction braking systems and implemented into new production models sometime in January. The automaker did not, however, order a recall of vehicles in the field until more than a week after reports of the issue turned up in the media.
The Prius, Prius PHEV, HS250h and Sai (a Toyota-badged version of the Prius sold only in Japan) are all being recalled for the update. In total, about 400,000 vehicles are involved in this recall. First- and second-generation Priuses are not included since they have a different braking system.
In the same release, available after the break, Toyota also announced that it would recall about 7,300 2010 model Camrys to inspect a power steering hose that may sit to close to a brake hose and cause it to wear through.
Toyota Announces Voluntary Recall on 2010 Model-Year Prius and 2010 Lexus HS 250h Vehicles to Update ABS Software
Inspection of Power Steering Hose Position on Certain 2010 Camry Also Announced
Recalls Underscore Toyota's Commitment to Address All Vehicle Quality and Safety Issues Promptly and Effectively
TORRANCE, Calif., February 8, 2010 – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc, today announced it will conduct a voluntary safety recall on approximately 133,000 2010 Model Year Prius vehicles and 14,500 Lexus Division 2010 HS 250h vehicles to update software in the vehicle's anti-lock brake system (ABS). No other Toyota, Lexus, or Scion vehicles are involved in this recall.
The ABS, in normal operation, engages and disengages rapidly (many times per second) as the control system senses and reacts to tire slippage. Some 2010 model year Prius and 2010 HS 250h owners have reported experiencing inconsistent brake feel during slow and steady application of brakes on rough or slick road surfaces when the ABS is activated in an effort to maintain tire traction.
Toyota has responded to owner concerns with a running production change for 2010 Prius that was introduced last month, improving the ABS system's response time, as well as the system's overall sensitivity to tire slippage. The production change for the HS 250h is planned for later this month.
"We're committed to doing everything we can – as fast as we can – to restore consumer trust in Toyota, and these recalls are part of this effort," said Jim Lentz, President and Chief Operating Officer, Toyota Motor Sales. "We regret the inconvenience this recall will cause to Prius and HS 250h owners, and will do our best with the support of our dealers to make sure that it is conducted in the most trouble-free manner possible."
Mr. Lentz continued: "As part of the quality improvement program announced by Toyota President Akio Toyoda last week, our company is undertaking a top to bottom review to ensure that our vehicles meet our own high standards of safety and reliability, now and for the future. We are taking steps to implement more stringent quality control across the company, to investigate customer complaints more aggressively and to respond more quickly to any safety issues we identify."
The recall will allow Toyota dealers to perform the software update on 2010 Prius vehicles sold prior to this running production change. Only Prius vehicles produced since May 2009 and all HS 250h vehicles are subject to this recall. First- and second-generation Prius vehicles use a different ABS system and are not involved in this campaign.
The ABS system on the Lexus HS 250h is similar in design to the Prius. The software adjustment planned for HS 250h production and dealer modification is being finalized and will be announced very soon.
Toyota 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.
Separately, Toyota will conduct a voluntary safety recall on approximately 7,300 early production - 2010 model year Camry vehicles equipped with the 4 cylinder engine to inspect for a power steering hose that may be in contact with a front brake tube. This 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.
Owners of the involved 2010 Camry vehicles will be notified by mail starting in the middle of February.
Detailed information about these recalls is available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and at the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.