Toyota has announced the recall of 437,000 vehicles worldwide to fix software that controls the brakes. The recall affects 2009-2010 model year units of the Toyota Prius, Prius PHV plug-in, and Lexus HS 250h. Also included is the Japan-spec 250h, known as the Toyota Sai.
Sales of the Lexus HS 250h and the Toyota Sai have been temporarily suspended.
According to a press release from Toyota, the world's largest automaker says customers of these vehicles have experienced inconsistent braking "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." An update to the braking software is expected to improve "ABS response time, as well as the system's overall sensitivity to tire slippage."
"I apologise for causing trouble and worries for many customers over the quality and safety of Toyota," said Toyota president Akio Toyoda in a news conference today. In response to over 200 complaints related to the vehicle already, Toyoda said, "We sincerely acknowledge safety concerns from our customers. We have decided to recall as we regard safety for our customers as our foremost priority."
Separately, the company is also recalling 7,300 2010 Toyota Camry models that could develop a hole in the front brake fluid line. The gradual problem is caused by friction between that line and the power steering hose.
Toyota's terrible 2010 has led to the company recalling more than 10.37 million vehicles since January. Aside from the new brake-related recalls, the company has recalled over four million vehicles affected by sticking accelerators. A further five million vehicles with floor mats that also cause the gas pedal to stick have also been recalled. Meanwhile, a former Toyota company lawyer is accusing the company of covering up and destroying evidence in up to 700 product liability lawsuits.
19 deaths and 2,000 complaints have been linked to sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles, according to consumer advocates.
"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 Toyota Motors executive Jim Lentz. "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."