Toyota to recall some 50,000 Prius cars in Europe over faulty brake software

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Toyota to recall over 50,000 Prius in Europe

BRUSSELS — Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it is recalling some 50,000 Prius cars in Europe to modify the software for the anti-lock brake system, part of a wider global recall and the latest in a string of embarrassing safety lapses at the world’s largest automaker.

Toyota said it has received reports of problems with brakes during slow and steady breaking on bumpy or slick road surfaces when the system is used. It says no accidents linked to the problem have yet been reported in Europe.

It said it will take some 40 minutes to reprogram the software at authorized Toyota dealers to improve the system’s response time and sensitivity to tire slippage. The company will write to customers to tell them to contact their dealer.

The recall affects 52,903 models of its third-generation Prius, Toyota said, and no other Toyota or Lexus models sold in Europe.

Toyota is recalling some 437,000 Prius and other hybrid vehicles worldwide to fix brake problems — including the 2010 Prius gas-electric hybrid, the world’s top-selling hybrid car.

The company is also in the middle of recalling more than 7 million vehicles worldwide because of problems with floor mats, which can trap gas pedals, and faulty gas pedals that are slow to return to the idle position. The Prius wasn’t part of those recalls.

There have been about 200 complaints in Japan and the U.S. about a delay when the brakes in the Prius were pressed in cold conditions and on some bumpy roads. The delay doesn’t indicate a brake failure. The company says the problem can be fixed by reprogramming the software that controls the braking system.

One of the biggest sellers in the U.S. and Japan, Toyota is not a major player in Europe, where it ranked No. 8 by sales last year, with a 5 percent share of the market.

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