June 29, 2017
Toyota Prius Recall: 1.9 Million Hybrids Affected By Software Defect

A Toyota Prius recall has been issued for the Japanese motor company's hot selling hybrid vehicle. 1.9 million cars are potentially affected by a software defect that could cause them to go into a failsafe mode. Almost half of those impacted were sold in Japan, while another 700,000 were sold in the U.S.

The Toyota Prius recall is a result of a malfunction in the control ECU and hybrid control ECU software on several 2010-2014 models. Most of those vehicles sold are susceptible to high thermal temperatures, potentially causing the transistors to become damaged. Drivers will be made aware of the danger by warning lights and the vehicle entering a failsafe mode. It is possible that the entire vehicle may shut down if this happens.

Toyota has recalled several other of their vehicles besides the Prius. The 2012 Toyota RAV4, 2012-2013 Toyota Tacoma, and 2012-2013 Lexus RX 350 models are all impacted by a separate issue affecting the Vehicle Stability Control, Anti-lock Brake, and Traction Control functions. No one has been reported injured yet as a result of the software defects, but the best selling motor company is not taking any chances.

Back in 2012, another large recall was issued by Toyota. The company suffered in consumer safety ratings because of the number of vehicles that have faced issues in recent year. Current President Akio Toyoda, grandson of the founder, has worked hard to bring the company back into profitability. While sales have soared, recalls like the most recent one have put quality control doubts in the minds of consumers.

Of course another way of looking at the Toyota Prius recall is that the company is relentless in their pursuit of excellence. The decision to change out the software is voluntary on the part of the consumer and so far there have been no reports of issues. Because of the hefty amount of vehicles needing repair in recent years, the company is hoping to be pre-emptive even about minor issues.

"My impression is Toyota is recalling more often, even with very minor flaws," said Yuuki Sakurai, the Tokyo-based president of Fukoku Capital Management Inc. "Toyota learned its lesson from the big recalls in 2009 and 2010."

The Prius is known for being the best valued car on the market. Based on how much consumers pay per mile, it is hard to argue about the value of the car. But will consumer get tired of what is seemingly becoming a yearly issue? Only time will tell if this latest Toyota Prius recall will affect the profitability of the world's best selling car company.