Toyota owners, and for that matter Lexus and Scion owners, should be outraged at the way that the Toyota Motor Corporation has responded in the wake of known engineering and technology glitches which have caused numerous accidents that have injured or killed many. Evidence is emerging that Toyota knew about its gas pedal problems as far back as early 2007, but now a new problem is emerging: the latest generation hybrid Prius may have brake problems.
The problem with the Toyota Prius surfaced when customers began to complain of brakes slipping under certain conditions. Beginning in late January, Toyota tweaked the software controlling the brakes of cars which had yet to be sold, but they still have not offered a fix for customers who already own the car. The third generation Prius has been available since early 2009.
Complaints from American drivers have been sent to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA) who has been behind a pair of investigations related to the runaway Toyota issue. Japan’s Ministry of Transportation is also investigating Prius complaints logged by Japanese drivers.
SayEducate first mentioned the runaway Toyota issue last November on the heels of an ABC News investigative report detailing several fatal accidents and incidents involving runaway Toyotas and the fatal runaway Lexus case last summer. Since then, numerous media outlets have helped put pressure on the NHTSA to follow through, with the federal government ordering Toyota to stop selling eight affected models.
According to Automotive News, Toyota Managing Officer Hiroyuki Yokoyama said yesterday that the slipping feeling is caused by a lag time in the shift between the car’s regenerative braking system and the antilock braking system.
That situation has become most apparent on slippery or bumpy roads particularly in December as icy road conditions resulted in more frequent use of ABS braking. Yokohama added, “When ABS comes into play, you may feel a little bit of slip, but if you continue to apply the brake it will work. It may cause customers a little unease.”
Toyota’s problems continue to mount and has extended recalls to cover more cars than it sold last year. Thus far, at least eight million vehicles in North America, Europe, Japan, and elsewhere are subject to a recall, with fixes ranging from replacing the driver’s floor mat to swapping out the accelerator pedal.
Those repairs are expected to begin by early next week with all cars serviced within the next few months.
Meanwhile, not selling its eight affected models has hurt Toyota financially. According to the Detroit Free Press, the automaker is losing $100 million daily with no date set when the company can fully resume sales.
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