Toyota announced in a statement on Friday (5 October) that it had begun a major recall of vehicles across its global markets.
The car manufacturer said that more than 2.4 million hybrid vehicles worldwide are affected by a fault which could cause them to lose power during instances of hard acceleration.
The recall of Prius and Auris cars includes 1.25 million in Japan, 830,000 in North America and 290,000 in Europe – of which about 55,000 are in the UK. All those affected were produced between October 2008 and November 2014.
Toyota said it was not aware of any actual accidents caused by the fault.
However, the carmaker said that in “rare situations”, the fault could cause vehicles to stall when entering “failsafe” driving mode.
“While power steering and braking would remain operational, a vehicle stall while driving at higher speeds could increase the risk of a crash,” the company said.
Speaking to BusinessTech, Toyota South Africa said that the recall has not formally ‘kicked off’ locally.
“The formal process involves Toyota South Africa notifying customers whose vehicles are affected via telephone, SMS, email and even the MyToyota App,” it said.
“The VINs of the affected vehicles will also be flagged when those cars are brought in for servicing or at any Toyota Dealer touch points. However, Toyota has commenced the process and remains committed to the safety of its customers and all vehicles occupants.”
Toyota SA added that hybrid sales in South Africa aren’t as strong compared with Western markets, and for this reason that there are fewer than 1,000 units affected by the recall in SA (356 Auris Hybrid and 322 Prius).
“It’s only if the vehicle goes into fail-safe, and then while it’s in fail-safe and during hard acceleration, that the condition of the vehicle stopping, instead of moving forward slowly, may occur,” it said.
“The distance a vehicle will continue to travel in fail-safe driving mode will vary based upon the hybrid battery state of charge and the road conditions. If a vehicle enters fail-safe driving mode, the driver should pull over and stop the car in a safe area. The driver should immediately contact his/her local Toyota dealer for assistance.”
“To reprogram the Power Management ECU will take approximately 40 minutes. However, it may be necessary for the owner to make the vehicle available for a longer period of time depending on the dealer’s schedule. The remedy will be performed at no charge to vehicle owners,” it said.