Reuters (February 9, 2010)
"* Toyota says to file Prius recall in Japan at 0420 GMT
"* President Toyoda, quality chief to brief in Tokyo
"* Sai, Lexus HS250h hybrid shipments halted to check brakes
"* Suit filed in Calif. over Prius braking complaints
"* Toyota shares rally 3 pct, still down 20 pct from Jan. 21
"By Nobuhiro Kubo and Bernie Woodall
"TOKYO/DETROIT, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said on Tuesday it would recall its flagship Prius hybrid in Japan for braking problems and that it had halted shipments of two other hybrid models to check for similar problems.
"The world's largest automaker is already under fire for two other recalls covering more than 8 million vehicles worldwide due to problems with slipping floormats and sticky accelerator pedals.
"Toyota is fighting to keep its reputation for quality and reliability while dealing with a potential rush of litigation for crashes linked to 19 deaths and numerous injuries in the United States over the past decade...."
I'd been hoping that the Toyota quality-control issue was limited to America. Don't get me wrong: I'm an American, and think rather highly of this country, overall. On the other hand, Toyota's had - and earned - a reputation for quality for a very long time. I don't like to see that sort of thing end.
Here's part of what's been happening in 2010, with automotive technology:
"... Toyota has said it had fixed a software glitch in the anti-brake lock system (ABS) on the 2010 Prius at the end of last month, and that cars being produced now would not be subject to any recall.
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 it lurches forward before the traditional brakes engage.
"U.S. automaker Ford Motor Co (F.N) said last week it would roll out a software patch for consumers to address similar problems with braking on two of its hybrid models, without filing a recall...."
That "regenerative brakes" technology looks pretty good on paper: making use of the kinetic energy invested in a vehicle's speed. Too bad it didn't work right.
Well, let's hope that the software patch deals with that issue.
Oh, my: 2010 does not look like it's going to be a good year for Toyota. On the other hand, if the company brass deals with this effectively, the company - and folks who use their products - could benefit in the long run.
- "Toyota Cars Recalled: Because of Made-in-America Parts"
(January 30, 2010)