Prius recall confirmed, Canada included


Toyota has confirmed its plans to recall roughly 437,000 Prius and other hybrid models worldwide in order to fix a glitch that could lead to brake problems. That number includes roughly 3,300 hybrids sold in Canada.

“I don't see Toyota as an infallible company that never makes mistakes,” company president Akio Toyoda said at a news conference in Tokyo on Tuesday. “We will face up to the facts and correct the problem, putting customers' safety and convenience first.”

Adding the Prius recall to the tally, Toyota has recalled over 8.5 million vehicles worldwide over the last few months. Other well-publicized recalls include floor mats that can pin down gas pedals and faulty accelerator pedals that have been known to cause unsafe and uncontrolled acceleration.

The Prius hybrid issue concerns the anti-lock breaking system and complaints of delays when the brakes area applied in cold conditions and bumpy roads.

Toyota says the fix can be made in about 40 minutes with a new software patch.

As for Toyota Canada, production resumed on Monday on all production lines at Canadian manufacturing facilities. Work had been stopped in late January after the company suspended production and sales of eight popular models because of defects with the brakes.

“The affected accelerator pedals on new vehicles at Toyota dealerships have been repaired and the vehicles are now being delivered to customers,” the company said in a release.

Toyota went on to thank its customers for “their loyalty and confidence” during the recall woes.

“Our goal is to continue to earn that trust each and every day.”

It remains to be seen how this recall will play out in the market as 2010 continues to unfold. Toyota already experienced a 15 per cent drop in Canadian sales in January.

Analysts interviewed by Canadian AutoWorld indicate the public relations nightmare is actually not as bad as it is being perceived.

“Chances are, no one will remember this in three years,” said Bill Pochiluk, president of U.S. research firm AutoCompass.

- with files from The Associated Press