First, engine sludge in the Camry. Then, rusty frame rails on the Tacoma. Advertising Age (of all people) reveals the latest problem to tarnish Toyota’s solid gold quality image: the Prius’ HID headlights. A number of owners of Toyota’s green machine weren’t well pleased happy their high intensity headlights died after a few years. No surprise there; replacing them runs up a $1000+ parts and labor bill. Owners claim HID death is a “a dangerous but undisclosed safety defect” and that Toyota has “long been aware of Prius’ HID headlight problem” and is “concealing the problems from owners.”
So far the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration (el NHTSA) has received over 300 complaints about the headlights. When el NHTSA contacted Toyota about the issue, the automaker said they’d provide information on the headlights “by the end of the month.”
Meanwhile, an unnamed “company spokesman” told AdAge that Prius owners are responsible for repairs after the warranty has expired. So it doesn’t look like Toyota may be willing to do much to sooth owners’ ruffled feathers.
Looking forward, ToMoCo better be careful, though. As marketing expert Andy Fletcher pointed out, Prius owners are “sensitive people with a clear sense of right and wrong and their obligation to society.” With the new Prius whirring onto the streets, they’re “the wrong group to mess with, particularly now.”