Owners of Toyota's iconic Prius hybrid model who thought they'd escaped the rash of Toyota recalls need to think again. The company is working on a fix to reshape accelerator pedals so that they cannot be trapped by floor mats, and will issue details within weeks.
The upcoming recall took center stage after a widely publicized incident in San Diego, when the owner of a 2008 Toyota Prius said he was unable to stop the car after it accelerated to 90 miles per hour.
Loose all-weather floor mat jams accelerator pedal. Photo: NHTSA
Front Exterior View - 2008 Toyota Prius 5dr HB Base (Natl)
Angular Rear Exterior View - 2008 Toyota Prius 5dr HB Touring (Natl)
A California Highway Patrol car was dispatched in response to his 911 call, and advised him to apply both the foot brakes and the emergency brake. The CHP cruiser also moved in front of the 2008 Prius to protect other traffic.
The driver eventually switched off the engine and brought the car safely to a stop. Toyota plans to send engineers to inspect the vehicle.
In response to publicity about the incident, Toyota says it plans to recall all 2004-2009 Toyota Prius models--the second generation of the best-selling hybrid--to modify their pedals.
The plans to modify 2004-2009 Prius models were announced as part of its first recall in September, to alleviate floor mat problems that could trap the accelerator pedal. That action covered five Toyota and two Lexus models, totaling almost 4 million vehicles.
The recall has not yet taken place because the company is still developing details of that fix, it says. Prius models are only affected by the first of two Toyota recalls for acceleration issues.
But the 2004-2009 Prius is not subject to the second recall, for sticking accelerator mechanisms, which covers eight Toyota models as well as a single Pontiac model built by Toyota (NYSE:TM).
Separately, the redesigned 2010 Prius is the subject of a different recall to update braking software that controls the interaction among its standard brakes, the regenerative braking function that recharges the car's battery, and the anti-lock braking system.