Toyota Prius Recall Said To Be Imminent

In continuing coverage, the AP (2/8, Olsen) reports that Toyota has announced “plans to deal with braking problems in its prized Prius hybrid” in the near future “amid reports it has decided to issue a recall for the vehicle in Japan.” The AP notes that Toyota “has told dealers in the United States it is preparing to repair the brakes on thousands of Prius vehicles there, according to an e-mail sent by a company executive. It was unclear whether Toyota planned a formal U.S. recall. ‘We will make an announcement soon on the action we plan to take,’ spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said, commenting on media reports Sunday that the company has decided to issue a Japan recall. Takeuchi did not confirm those reports.”

On the front page of its business section, the New York Times (2/8, B1, Tabuchi, 1.09M) reports that Toyota “plans to recall at least 311,000 of its 2010 Prius hybrid models after receiving a flurry of complaints about the vehicle’s brakes, a person briefed on the decision said late Sunday. The decision is to be announced early this week, this person said.” The Times notes NHTSA’s probe into Prius brakes, adding that Toyota officials “acknowledged on Thursday that the company had identified a flaw in the car’s braking system and corrected it for Priuses built since late January, which would not be part of the recall.”
The Wall Street Journal (2/8, Takahashi, Kachi, B2, 2.08M) also reports on the planned Japanese repairs, but notes that the company may not issue an official recall. Similar measures are planned in the US. The Journal adds that DOT has not been formally informed of any recall regarding the Pruis. The Journal quotes an unnamed DOT spokesman saying that NHTSA “is working quickly to detect any potential problems, but as of now, Toyota has not said there is a safety defect with the vehicle. If Toyota does have knowledge of a safety defect, they are legally required to stop sale of the affected vehicles. They are also legally obligated to notify NHTSA within five days of discovering that a defect exists.”
Bloomberg News (2/8, Komatsu, Hagiwara) reports that “two people familiar with the matter” said that Toyota would recall “at least 270,000″ Priuses this week, adding to global recalls of almost 8 million autos for separate defects. … Toyota also plans to recall Lexus HS250h and Sai hybrid models in Japan this month, one of the people said. The company is considering steps dealers can take for current Prius owners, including exchanging some parts, the person said.”
In a separate piece, Bloomberg News (2/8, Ohnsman) reports that Toyota has advised its dealers that plans to address problems with Prius brakes will be dispersed soon. “‘We notified dealers in a short letter yesterday that we believe we’ll have more specific information on our plans for Prius next week,’ John Hanson, a spokesman for Toyota’s U.S. sales unit, said on Feb. 6.” However, Toyota “didn’t tell dealers it will make a formal ‘announcement’ on a Prius fix and hasn’t yet determined whether a recall is necessary, he said.”