Late yesterday we reported on how Toyota was “looking into” reported issues around braking problems with the new 2010 Prius. Turns out that “investigation” didn’t last too long – the company came out in Japan today at a thrown together press conference to say the brakes do in fact, according to the New York Times, have “design problems.” Uh-oh!
The Times reports Toyota already internally knew about the braking problem – seemingly caused by a “a lag time in the shift between the car’s regenerative braking system and the antilock braking system,” according to AutoWeek. The problem reportedly already had been fixed in Priuses being sold since late January, but the auto maker apparently was slow in coming out to the public about the problem. A press person from Toyota said publicly, according to the Times, that the company “was still considering what actions to take for cars already on the road and had not ruled out a recall.”
One has to imagine this issue only adds more pressure to Toyota’s already sagging public image due to its initial handling of unrelated accelerator pedal issues in other models it sells. We will have to see how Toyota moves to handle this issue with the Prius, and what kind of potential panic, if any, it produces in 2010 Prius owners.One thing is for certain though – the popular hybrid has just suffered its first major PR body blow.