Citing allegations of braking loss or slippage, Japan's Ministry of Transportation ordered Toyota to launch an investigation into possible brake problems in the new 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid.
That car, currently in short supply globally and also the best-selling car in Japan, is the subject of 14 complaints from drivers in Japan and more than 100 in the U.S.
2010 toyota prius first drive 010
Pre-Production 2010 Toyota Prius in Orlando
2010 Toyota Prius rolls onto the Detroit stage at its global debut in January 2009
2010 Prius only, not earlier models
Toyota's investigation will be restricted to the third-generation 2010 Prius, introduced in the U.S. early last year. It will not cover either the first-generation (2000-2003) or second-generation (2004-2009) Prius, at least initially.
Drivers have reported both complete loss of their brakes and a feeling that the brakes are slipping, with bumpy or icy road surfaces frequently mentioned.
Toyota accelerator recalls
Currently, Toyota is in the process of recalling 8 million Toyota and Lexus models across five continents to address highly publicized reports of sticking accelerator pedals. The new investigation announced today in Japan has not resulted in a recall thus far.
Two separate recalls are now underway, with each affecting different models.
The first shortens the pedal to prevent it from being trapped underneath oversize floor mats; the second adds a shim to eliminate the potential for part of the pedal mechanism to stick due to corrosion caused over time by condensation.
Recall summary, what to do
Our sister site TheCarConnection.com has a full summary with details of the Toyota recalls in North America (including certain Lexus and Pontiac models): Toyota And Lexus Recall: Everything You Need To Know.
In addition, here's what to do if your accelerator sticks from any cause.
[Automotive News (subscription required), AP via Detroit News, both via TheCarConnection]