Toyota Reels in 1.9M Prius Cars for Software Snags


After clinching the title for most units recalled globally in 2013, Toyota (NYSE:TM) is not off to an inspiring start to the (relatively) new year. The company has just issued a recall for 1.9 million Prius models worldwide to fix a software glitch that could cause the car to stall.

About 713,000 of the nearly 2 million affected vehicles are located in North America, about 130,000 are in Europe, and the remaining 997,000 are located in Japan, with some scattered in smaller markets. Reportedly, the hiccup in the car’s hybrid software system will cause the car to shut down and “enter a limp-home failsafe mode,” Automotive News reports.

The repair will consist of a software update, which Toyota says will only take about 40 minutes. However, in the event that the update doesn’t fix the issue, a new control module would be needed, and that fix would take about three hours.

Toyota explained that the software bug can potentially lead to a faulty boost converter, which can then result in overheating that may possibly damage or deform transistors. The vehicles in question were built between March 2009 and February 5 of this year; no injuries, accidents, or deaths have been reported as a result of the glitch.


Software issues have plagued the third-generation Prius, making this the third substantial recall that Toyota has put out for the cars. The company brought back 397,000 vehicles globally to fix an anti-lock brake software glitch in 2010, and another 87,000 in North America in June to fix a brake pressure accumulator.

However, its believed that Toyota is being more liberal with the recall button after the massive unintended acceleration debacle in 2009. ”My impression is Toyota is recalling more often, even with very minor flaws” with its vehicles, Yuuki Sakurai, the Tokyo-based president of Fukoku Capital Management, told Automotive News. “Toyota learned its lesson from the big recalls in 2009 and 2010.”

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