Toyota Recalling 670,000 Prius Hybrids in U.S.
Toyota is recalling 670,000 of its 2004-9 Prius hybrids in the United States to fix problems involving the loss of steering and the hybrid powertrain shutting down, the automaker has told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The move is part of a worldwide recall of 2.77 million vehicles, according to The Associated Press, which quoted Toyota officials in Japan. Only the Prius is affected in the United States. Outside the United States the recall covers the Corolla and the Wish, a small van.
Um... Loss of steering tends to be a bit of a deal breaker. I wonder how many accidents this may have caused? Now, I tend to take these stories with a rather large grain of salt. The media's been trying to help the Feds tear down Toyota ever since the big buyout back in 2010 - we've seen several reports of recalls and such, and yet Toyota continues to enjoy class-topping sales. If their cars really were this bad, you'd think at some point the fervor with which Americans buy Toyota vehicles would have abated somewhat...
It is rather interesting, though, that the recall affects the hybrid powertrain. Now, it's pretty shoddy reporting (I know, I know, that's a stretch), because they don't explain exactly what is having problems - to me, "powertrain" is engine, drivetrain and transmission, so "hybrid powertrain" means, well, everything under the damn hood and the car. I assume they mean the electric motor and transmission; however if that's the case, it means the Prius is just driving on the small gasoline motor. It's not earth-shattering, it just means it's not going to get the crazy gas mileage.
The loss of steering, that seems like it might be a big deal - however, given the media's shark-like attention for anything even vaguely involving bad news about Toyota, I think if there had been a rash of Prius crashes due to steering failures we'd have heard about it by now. Given the somewhat limited cause - frequent full turns to the left and right at low speed? Seriously? - it's more probable that this was a theoretical failure rather than a real life one. And for the hybrid system, it's not something that affected safety, just performance.
Still, the schadenfreude is palpable, especially considering that for many of the cars affected, they were gas-only as a result...
That is all.