Toyota recalls 670,000 Prius hybrids

Toyota Motor Corp. announced two safety recalls for its flagship Prius hybrid.

The automaker said the steering intermediate extension shafts in 670,000 Prius cars sold in the U.S. need to be inspected and in some cases replaced. And 350,000 of those hybrids also will have to have their electric water pumps replaced.

Toyota will recall another 2 million vehicles worldwide, including the Prius and the Corolla, to fix the same problems.

The gas-sipping Prius has become an important vehicle for Toyota, giving the company a reputation for producing fuel-efficient, green vehicles and quietly becoming one of the best sellers in the automaker’s lineup.

Toyota is on track to sell more than 250,000 Prius hatchbacks and station wagons this year, which will make it one of the best-selling passenger cars in the U.S. Toyota sells more hybrids in the U.S. than all other automakers combined.

In the U.S., the recall includes 2004 through 2009 model year Prius hybrids.

The steering shaft problem results from a manufacturing error in which certain parts in the system did not have the required hardness and can deform.

Toyota said that in some of the cars, the electric motor that drives the water pump that circulates coolant through the hybrid components can shut off. In some cases, this can cause the hybrid system to stop while the vehicle is being driven.

There have been no crashes or injuries reported for these two conditions.

Owners of vehicles covered by these safety recalls will receive an owner notification letter via first-class mail starting in December. Any authorized Toyota dealer will perform these recalls at no charge.

This is the second large recall by Toyota in barely a month.

In October, the Japanese automaker recalled 2.5 million vehicles nationally to fix a faulty power window switch that has been linked to at least nine injuries and several hundred reports of smoke and fire. In one instance reported to federal regulators, a passenger in a Camry was burned while trying to use a loose article of clothing to extinguish a fire caused by the switch.

The big recalls come as Toyota’s vehicle sales in the U.S. have been surging after being derailed last year. Sales were hurt by manufacturing disruptions and inventory shortages caused by the Japanese earthquake. Massive recalls in 2010 for sudden-acceleration problems and other safety defects also added to Toyota’s sales woes.

—-

&Copy;2012 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

—————

Topics: c000214487

More in Herald Business Journal

Driving the Dodge Demon, the world’s fastest production car

Our test took place at US 131 Motorsports Park, on a fully prepped professional drag strip.

Mountlake Terrace-based 1st Security Bank wasn’t traded publicly during the recession, but it has seen a steady growth since the recession. (Jim Davis / HBJ)
How stocks in local banks fared since the recession

Every bank was hit hard during the recession, but most have bounced back in a big way.

A look at what some stores have planned for Black Friday

With unemployment low, stores are hoping customers are in a mood to shop.

Boeing bolsters team for potential 797 with leading engineer

Terry Beezhold has been chief project engineer for the 777X program.

Tom Hoban
Are millennials warming up to life in suburbia?

They dominate the apartment market and their wants need to be accounted for, says columnist Tom Hoban.

Camano artist mixes flask, paintings for successful cocktail

Art flasks prove popular as bachelorette gifts, birthday presents and wedding favors.

Katie Garrison
New agent joins Re/Max Elite’s office in Snohomish

Re/Max Elite welcomed a new agent to its Snohomish office. Katie Garrison… Continue reading

UW Bothell Pub Talk looks at Greenhouse Gas Mystery

The Greenhouse Gas Mystery is the topic for the next UW Bothell… Continue reading

EvergreenHealth Monroe pharmacy interns travel to Ghana

Earlier this year, University of Washington School of Pharmacy students and EvergreenHealth… Continue reading

Most Read