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Toyota to recall 270,000 Priuses

Published:Tuesday | February 9, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Toyota Motor Corp plans to recall about 270,000 Prius hybrids worldwide over a brake problem and is likely to notify both the United States (US) and Japanese governments today, news reports said.

A top executive will testify before US lawmakers about defects that have tarnished Toyota's reputation for quality and safety.

The recall of the gas-electric Prius will cover the latest version of the cars that went on sale from May last year, Kyodo News agency reported late Monday.

Kyodo, which did not identify its sources for the information, said the automaker planned to notify authorities in Japan today and probably also in the US on the same day.

The recall will cover about 170,000 of the hybrids sold in Japan and 100,000 in the US, Kyodo said.

Japan's Nikkei business daily carried a similar report about Toyota's recall plans on its website, saying the automaker would notify authorities in Japan on Tuesday and was also likely to do so in the US at about the same time.

Weighing options

Toyota Motor spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said no decision on a Prius recall has been made. Kenji Sugai, an official in Japan's Transport Ministry section in charge of recalls, said it had not been informed of any such plan by Toyota.

The automaker is still weighing its options on how to handle the Prius repairs in the US, but it intends to begin fixing them soon, according to a person briefed on the matter who asked not to be identified because the remedy has not been made public.

Toyota has said among its options are a service campaign in which owners would be notified to bring their cars in for repairs, or a full-fledged safety recall.

Toyota is communicating with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on how to handle the fix.

At least 100 drivers of Prius cars in the US have complained to Washington that their anti-lock brakes seemed to fail momentarily while driving on bumpy roads.

The Japanese government has also received dozens of complaints. The US says the problem is suspected in four crashes that caused two minor injuries.

- AP