Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

Stop It: 2010 Prius Found to Have Braking Problems

Earlier today, the government announced it is looking into problems with yet one more Toyota product: the 2010 Prius. According an announcement reported by USA Today, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it will look specifically at whether the Prius brakes stop working momentarily after the car hits a bump.

This afternoon, MSNBC writes that reports coming from the Nikkei News Service say that Toyota will begin a recall on the affected Prius cars. However, the U.S. arm of the company can not confirm the report at the time of this post. "We have no information on any decision to recall the Prius," said John Hanson, a Toyota spokesman at the company's U.S. sales arm in Torrance, Calif.

USA Today writes that according to the NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation, the Administration has received 124 complaints about Prius brakes from consumers, including four reports in which crashes are alleged to have occurred. Investigators have spoken with consumers and conducted pre-investigatory field work, the agency said.

Unlike eight other Toyota models, the Prius has not had problems with its acceleration, or at least has not been included in any of the recalls linked to those issues.

According to a report by the AP, Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi spoke about the design issues on the Prius. She has said the issues were identified and corrected for Prius models sold since late January. At this point, the company is still considering what to do about buyers who have already bought the Prius.

USA Today notes that the Prius brakes are different than on most cars because they are regenerative, drawing power from the friction of stopping the car to recharge the car's battery for its hybrid engine. Prius is considered to be one of Toyota's most important cars, giving the company a reputation as a leader in green auto technology. The Prius sedan gets about 50 miles a gallon.

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