Report: Toyota plans to recall 300,000 Priuses

Brake problems in top-selling gas-electric hybrid may lead to worldwide recall

Published February 8, 2010 3:28PM (EST)

Toyota plans to recall about 300,000 Prius hybrids worldwide over a brake problem and will notify the U.S. and Japanese governments Tuesday, a news report said.

The recall of the gas-electric Prius will cover cars that went on sale since May last year through January, Kyodo news agency reported late Monday.

Kyodo, which did not identify its sources for the information, said the automaker will notify authorities in Japan and the U.S. of its plan, which will cover more than 270,000 of the hybrids sold in the two countries.

Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said no decision on a Prius recall has been made. Kenji Sugai, an official in Japan's Transport Ministry section in charge of recalls, said it had not been informed of any such plan by Toyota.

The Kyodo report follows others in Japanese media recently that the world's largest automaker has decided to announce a recall early this week. The company has only said it will soon announce plans to deal with the braking problem.

At least 100 drivers of Prius cars in the U.S. have complained to the government that their antilock brakes seemed to fail momentarily while driving on bumpy roads. The Japanese government has also received dozens of complaints. Toyota plans to fix a software glitch to correct the problem. The government says the problem is suspected in four crashes that caused two minor injuries.

Toyota says the brakes will work if the driver keeps pushing the pedal.

Toyota has already recalled more than 7 million other cars for repairs in the U.S. and other countries over a sticky accelerator and floor mats that can get caught in the gas pedal.

The Prius is the world's top-selling gas-electric hybrid and its fuel efficiency has drawn intense interest amid concerns about global warming and dependence on fossil fuels.

Toyota has sold 300,000 of the vehicles in about 60 countries. Kyodo reported recalls in other countries will follow those in Japan and the U.S. The company says it has already fixed vehicles that went on sale since last month.

Though there have been reports that Toyota will recall the cars, the company has an option of a "service campaign," in which the company would simply notify owners to bring their cars in for repairs.

By Kelly Olsen

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