Toyota’s troubles multiplied its flagship Prius hybrid became the latest model to be targeted in an expanding web of US investigations. Toyota decided to recall an estimated 270,000 Prius cars in Japan and the US to fix the brake problem.
The Japanese automaker has been hit by a whirlwind of safety concerns around the globe and US authorities are scrambling to assure concerned public and angry lawmakers who have begun their own probes into vehicle defects.
The admission of a brake design flaw with its star green car and the subsequent US probe are major new blows that could not have come at a worse time for the world’s largest automaker.
Toyota was already under fire in the US for its handling of massive recalls affecting about eight million vehicles worldwide â€œmore than its entire 2009 global sales of 7.8 million vehicles â€œdue to accelerator trouble.
The latest developments were particularly worrying for Toyota because the Prius has created a global buzz and been Japan’s top-selling car since June â€œahead of its main rival, Honda’s Insight.
Toyota had sold nearly 1.5 million Prius vehicles in 40 countries as of August 31 since the first version’s launch in 1997, making it the world’s most popular hybrid car.