It’s 11:00 on a sunny Thursday morning at a Toyota dealership in a suburb of Detroit, and it’s eerily quiet. It’s been ten days since Toyota recalled 133,000 Priuses in the United States for a software issue that affects braking, but there aren’t any Priuses waiting for upgrades. In fact, the two vehicles in the service bays, a newer Camry and a late-model RAV4, are both there for routine oil changes. The general manager of the dealership was understandably reluctant to talk to the media, but he didn’t hesitate to say that his dealership hasn’t seen a recalled Prius for days.
“We’re really done with the recalls now,” he said. He thinks it’s because the recall was for a software upgrade, not a parts replacement or modification, one that could be completed well within someone’s lunch hour. Because the upgrade was so quick — it could usually be done within half an hour — and because Prius owners are so notoriously into the nuts and bolts of their vehicles, the recall updates were all completed in the first few days after the recall announcement on the morning of February 8.
Curt McAllister, Product News Manager at Toyota, confirms the recall is nearly complete. In a press conference in Japan yesterday, Toyota announced that by the end of this month, which is less than two weeks away, up to 80% of the Prius upgrades will be complete, and that includes all of the recalled Priuses, not just the ones in the States. McAllister feels the figures are stunning — every day, Toyota dealers complete 50,000 repairs or upgrades related to the line-up of recently recalled Toyota products, including the Prius.
“Our dealerships continue to make progress and excel,” McAllister says.
Recall notices on the 14,000 Lexus HS 250h hybrids sold in the States will be mailed this week, which shouldn’t put much of a burden on dealership service departments. In the meantime, according to the general manager of that Toyota dealership in metro Detroit, demand is still running high, for Toyotas and for their requisite oil changes.