Toyota has announced a global recall of 1.9 million units of its Prius hybrid cars, including 5,500 units in Australia and 1,000 in New Zealand due to defective software. The faulty control software was found to slow down the Prius.
The Japanese car manufacturer said the recall of the latest Prius model to fix a software glitch in the control system. In a statement released on Feb. 12, Toyota said in limited cases, the Prius might shut down, causing the car to stop while being driven in the road.
The biggest automaker in the world cited the software problem could accidentally trigger the hybrid car's warning lights. Another probable scenario would be the vehicle switching to "failsafe mode," which means the car will use less power when driven.
A spokesman for Toyota based in Tokyo said the car will slowdown but not a sudden stop. She said the company is aware of 400 reported cases concerning the faulty software, including 90 cases in North America and 300 in Japan.
Toyota was quick to assure the Prius' software problem did not cause any accidents in the road.
Aside from the Prius, Toyota also issued a recall of 260,000 RAV4 sport-utility vehicles, Lexus RX350 SUVs and Tacoma trucks sold in the U.S. to solve a separate problem.
The Prius recall will cover models released in 2010 to 2014. About one million cars will be recalled in Japan alone while 700,000 cars will come from North America while the rest from Europe, Australia, New Zealand and other regions.
In the U.S., the Japanese automaker sold over 234,000 Priuses and became one of the top-selling brands of passenger vehicles, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Toyota Prius is also the best-selling car in California even beating America's Ford F-150 pickup.
The global recall affected 1,003 Prius cars sold in New Zealand. Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Customer Services Spencer Morris said there were no reported cases of engine control failure in the country associated with the software problem.
He explained it is extremely unlikely for the Prius to have the same case in New Zealand since weather conditions do not usually reach operating temperatures where faulty software could become a problem.
Toyota Prius was one of the first hybrid cars to go into mass production. The vehicle became the symbol of an eco-friendly vehicle and continued to attract buyers, including top celebrities.