Toyota, which has recalled more than 8 million vehicles around the world for problems with unintended acceleration, has decided to recall its new Prius hybrid in Japan to fix a braking software glitch, a dealer said on Sunday.
Safety regulators in both the U.S. and Japan are investigating braking problems with the Prius,which was a Japan’s top-selling car last year and an icon of green design of Toyota.
Toyota said last week it planned to make a final decision on whether to issue a recall or voluntary repair as soon as possible. The dealer, who declined to be identified, said the recall could come in the next few days.
Toyota’s president apologized Friday for safety problems.
Akio Toyoda, the grandson of Toyota’s founder, told a news conference in Nagoya: “I would like to take this opportunity to apologize from the bottom of my heart for causing many of our customers concern after the recalls across several models in several regions.” He also said that the company would make an announcement on the Prius soon.
Ford Motor Co. last week decided to roll out a software patch for consumers to address similar problems with braking on the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan models. It said it notified its dealers of the problem in October but not the public because it did not believe the glitch represented a brake failure.
Toyota has come under intense scrutiny, with U.S. safety authorities and members of the Obama administration accusing it of responding too slowly on problems related to uncontrolled acceleration that have been linked to up to 19 crash deaths in the U.S over the past decade.
Japan’s Transport Minister Seiji Maehara said that he believed Toyota would take a unified measure on the Prius across the world.
However, Toyota has sold over 300,000 of the newest version of the Prius worldwide since May 2009, including around 200,000 in Japan, 103,200 in the United States and 29,000 in Europe. [via Reuters]