Japan tells Toyota to investigate Prius on brakes
BLOOMBERG Los Angeles, 3 February
Toyota Motor Corp has been ordered by Japan's government to investigate brake-related problems with its latest Prius hybrid, Toyota Motor Corp has been ordered by Japan's government to investigate brake-related problems with its latest Prius hybrid, adding to company woes following the recall of millions of vehicles in overseas markets.
The Transport Ministry has received 14 complaints about the model's brakes since it was introduced in May, said Masaya Ota, an official in the recall division. The ministry contacted the company about the issue in August, said Shunsuke Miyaoka, who works in the same division.
An investigation of the Prius, the world's best-selling hybrid vehicle, may further damage Toyota's reputation after recalls of at least 7.6 million vehicles globally, including one that caused a halt of US sales and North American production of eight models.
The Prius, Japan's top-selling model last year, is not among vehicles for which sales were halted in the US "The Prius is Toyota's flagship model, its key to the future," said Ashvin Chotai, managing director of London-based Intelligence Automotive Asia Ltd, aconsulting company. "If that model gets tainted, that would suggest Toyota's crisis has moved on to the next level." Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said the government had ordered the investigation. She declined to say when officials contacted the company. The latest Prius model isn't included in overseas recalls for repairs related to unintended acceleration.
In the US, 2004 through 2009 Priuses were part of a 5.35- million vehicle recall for floor mats that may trap gas pedals and cause unintended acceleration. The Prius wasn't part of a separate US recall of 2.3 million vehicles because accelerator pedals may stick.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received more than 40 brake-related complaints about the 2010 Prius.An investigation of the Prius, the world's best-selling hybrid vehicle, may further damage Toyota's reputation after recalls of at least 7.6 million vehicles globally
Toyota's US sales decline signals 'uphill battle' BLOOMBERG Tokyo, 3 February
Toyota Motor Corp's US sales slid to a 10-year low in January as the company's worst-ever recall crisis took its most popular models off the market and made drivers wary. The decline snapped three months of advances as the company couldn't take advantage of the US auto market's longest streak of gains since 2006. The company's US sales last month dropped 16 per cent from ayear earlier while Hyundai Motor Co's sales rose 24 per cent, Nissan Motor Co's gained 16 per cent, General Motors Co's climbed 14 per cent and Ford Motor Co's advanced 25 per cent.