Prius owners beware- Toyota this week recalled all of the 1.9 million newest-generation Prius vehicles it's sold worldwide. Toyota cites a programming error that could cause the gas-electric hybrid system to shut down unexpectedly.
The voluntary recall is a notable change from five years ago, when it heavily resisted working with authorities looking into the issue of accidental acceleration in numerous vehicles.
The recall also shows the growing complexity of today’s vehicles, which are increasingly loaded with technology and electronic systems that can leave them more likely to develope problems, according to analysts.
Roughly half of the recalled Priuses are in Japan, while 713,000 are in North America and 130,000 are in Europe, according to Brian Lyons, a Toyota spokesman in Tokyo. He said the company was not aware of any accidents linked to the defect. In addition to Japan, the Prius is made in China and Thailand.
Toyota said that problems in software settings on the newest Prius generation — which first went on sale in 2009 — could stress and damage transistors in the hybrid systems. The problems could set off warning lights and prompt the vehicle to power down as part of a fail-safe mode, according to a news release.
“In rare circumstances, the hybrid system might shut down while the vehicle is being driven, resulting in the loss of power and the vehicle coming to a stop,” the release said. Prius owners will need to visit a dealer to fix the error.