Toyota pulls off Jan hybrids | autos | Hindustan Times
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Toyota pulls off Jan hybrids

Toyota Motor Corp said it is recalling nearly half a million of its flagship Prius and other hybrid cars for braking problems as it seeks to address criticism over the handling of its worst safety crisis.

autos Updated: Feb 09, 2010 21:27 IST

Toyota Motor Corp said it is recalling nearly half a million of its flagship Prius and other hybrid cars for braking problems as it seeks to address criticism over the handling of its worst safety crisis.

Toyota said it was recalling a total of 437,000 units of its 2010 Prius, Sai, Prius PHV (plug-in hybrid) and Lexus HS250h hybrids globally, including 155,000 in North America, 223,000 in Japan and 53,000 in Europe.

The Prius was Japan's top-selling car last year — a first for a hybrid.

GLITCH FIXED

Some owners of the latest, third-generation Prius have complained that on bumpy roads and on ice, the regenerative brakes which help charge the vehicles’ electric battery appear to slip and the car lurches forward before the traditional brakes engage.

U.S. automaker Ford said last week it would roll out a software patch for consumers to address similar problems on two of its hybrids, without filing a recall.


LAWSUITS

In the apparent first of a potential rush of legal claims over the Prius, the owner of a 2010 model has sued Toyota in Los Angeles, claiming the automaker failed to fix a brake defect and seeking a court order requiring a recall.

Complaints to U.S. safety regulators about 2010 Prius brake problems have jumped sharply since the Transportation Department announced a formal investigation last week.

Chastised by safety authorities and members of the Obama administration for moving too slowly on recalls, Toyota President Akio Toyoda said he never believed the company was infallible, but it had always tried to repair defects swiftly.

"With myself taking the lead, and by keeping to the genchi genbutsu principle, all of us at Toyota ... will do everything in our power to regain the confidence of our customers," Toyoda, the grandson of the company's founder, said.

Genchi genbutsu — "go and see" — is one of the five principles in Toyota philosophy.