Toyota Motor Corp. said it knew previously about complaints related to the brakes of its Prius hybrid car and Thursday expanded a safety probe to all its hybrid models.
The Japanese auto maker said it found and corrected problems with its new 2010 Prius hybrid and said it did not try to “cover up” the glitch. But the disclosure and the expansion of its investigation to include such models as its Lexus HS250h and Sai luxury hybrid sedans comes amid intensifying government and public scrutiny of the world’s No. 1 auto maker by vehicle sales.
U.S. highway safety regulators said today they are opening a formal investigation of brake problems reported in the 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it has 124 complaints from consumers, including reports of four crashes linked to the problem. The agency said it will look into claims that Prius suffer momentary losses of braking capability when traveling over rough roads or after hitting bumps or potholes.
The NHTSA said it opens 100 investigations a year into complaints about motor vehicle, and said the agency currently has 40 open investigations of potential vehicle defects.
Toyota has so far received 77 complaints on Prius brakes through its dealers, though they haven’t been blamed for any fatalities.
Toyota is separately recalling more than six million other vehicles to correct problems linked with sudden acceleration, which it has blamed on out-of-position floor mats and sticky accelerator pedals.
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