Anticlimactic Post Of The Day: Toyota Recalls, Freezes Sales Of Prius, Sai, Lexus Hybrids

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
anticlimactic post of the day toyota recalls freezes sales of prius sai lexus

It’s the software, stupid. At a press conference at 3:30 pm Japanese time, Toyota came clean and announced that it will recall 223,068 hybrid vehicles in Japan, including its latest Prius model and three other models–the Sai, the Lexus HS250h and the Prius Plug-In Hybrid, says the Nikkei [sub]. They will get a re-flash of the brake software. Worldwide recalls of affected models will follow. This ends – for now – weeks of waffling over the latest in a series of Toyota problems.

The recall will start Wednesday. A total of 199,666 Prius vehicles manufactured between April 20, 2009 and Jan. 27 of this year will receive new ABS software.

Toyota will also recall a total of 10,820 units of its Sai model manufactured between Oct. 2 and Feb. 8; 12,423 units of its Lexus HS250h manufactured between June 10 and Feb. 8; and 159 units of its Prius plug-in hybrid manufactured between Nov. 25 and Feb. 5. Sales of these vehicles will be suspended from late February through early March, the Japanese Transport Ministry said according to a report in the Nikke i [sub]. The software for these models has not been finished yet.

According to a separate report in the Nikkei [sub], Toyota will recall 400,000 vehicles worldwide, President Akio Toyoda said at the press conference. “We will swiftly act to inform our customers in Europe and the U.S. of our plans.”

The Japanese government hopes Toyota will properly handle the recalls to ease concern among customers, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano said Tuesday: ”I would like the company to deal with it properly so that it can alleviate concern among users.’The government will continue to watch developments carefully.”

Meanwhile in the U.S.A., Toyota went on the long overdue public relations offensive. The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed articled by Toyota’s CEO Akio Toyoda. He promised that Toyota will be more vigilant in the future about responding to safety regulators.

“I have spoken with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and given him my personal assurance that lines of communications with safety agencies and regulators will be kept open, that we will communicate more frequently and that we will be more vigilant in responding to those officials,” Toyoda wrote in the Washington Post. (Via Reuters, on-line version was not available at the time of this typing.)

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  • Nick Nick on Feb 09, 2010

    *thunk* Another case of Perrier-Jouet lands on the receiving dock at Dearborn.

  • Stuki Stuki on Feb 09, 2010

    Wonder how much Toyota's perceived high quality has had to do with preventing decision makers from hearing about problems as they started occurring. A year ago, if someone complained about a Toyota malfunctioning, the complaint would result in little more than the complainer being labeled incompetent; as anyone from service advisors, CR and ambulance chasers "knew" blaming Toyota was a losing bet. Preventing Toyota corporate from picking up signals decision makers at less exalted makers would be made immediately aware of. And now, things have turned around 180, to the point where if some drunk rams into a daycare center, the main focus of the ensuing story is what part of his Toyota malfunctioned this time.

  • Tassos ask me if I care.
  • ToolGuy • Nice vehicle, reasonable price, good writeup. I like your ALL CAPS. 🙂"my mid-trim EX tester is saddled with dummy buttons for a function that’s not there"• If you press the Dummy button, does a narcissist show up spouting grandiose comments? Lol.
  • MaintenanceCosts These are everywhere around here. I'm not sure the extra power over a CR-V hybrid is worth the fragile interior materials and the Kia dealership experience.
  • MaintenanceCosts It's such a shame about the unusable ergonomics. I kind of like the looks of this Camaro and by all accounts it's the best-driving of the current generation of ponycars. A manual 2SS would be a really fun toy if only I could see out of it enough to drive safely.
  • ToolGuy Gut feel: It won't sell all that well as a new vehicle, but will be wildly popular in the used market 12.5 years from now.(See FJ Cruiser)