Toyota to recall 1.9 mln Prius cars for software defect in hybrid system – Reuters

Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014

TOKYO Feb 12 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp on
Wednesday issued a recall covering all 1.9 million of the
third-generation Prius cars sold worldwide, due to a programming
glitch in their hybrid system.

About half of the recalls are in Japan and 713,000 in North
America, a Toyota spokeswoman said. No accidents have been
reported related to the defect.

Toyota said the problem was in the software used to control
the boost converter in a module that is part of the hybrid
system.

“The setting of the software could cause higher thermal
stress in certain transistors within the booster converter, and
these transistors could deform or become damaged as a result,”
Toyota said.

“This will result in various warning lights being
illuminated, and will probably cause the vehicle to enter a
failsafe mode,” it said, noting that the car can be driven but
with reduced driving power.

In limited cases, the hybrid system could shut down, causing
the vehicle to stop, possibly while it is being driven, Toyota
said.

The latest action would be the third recall for the current,
five-year-old Prius, most recently in June last year for
problems related to the brake accumulator. The Prius is one of
Toyota’s best-selling models, and has become synonymous with the
fuel-saving hybrid technology.

Toyota, the world’s top-selling automaker, does not disclose
cost estimates for recalls.

The number of vehicles called back for a single defect has
ballooned over the years as car makers increasingly use common
parts across multiple models to save development and procurement
costs.

Since a damaging quality crisis in 2010 that led to the
recall of more than 10 million vehicles and marked a turning
point in Toyota’s 70-year history, automakers in general have
become more proactive in addressing safety concerns.

In late 2012, Toyota issued two multi-million-vehicle
recalls, including one of more than 7.4 million vehicles to fix
power window switches that were a potential fire hazard. That
was the industry’s biggest single recall since Ford Motor Co
took 8 million vehicles off the road in 1996.

Shares in Toyota were up 0.3 percent on Wednesday afternoon,
roughly in line with the benchmark Nikkei average.

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