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Prius recall imminent for troubled Toyota, Lexus hybrid next?

Toyota is preparing to recall 270,000 Prius hybrid vehicles in the United States and Japan with brake problems, and the world’s largest automaker has also begun an investigation for similar problems with its luxury Lexus hybrid.

Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said Toyota had not yet decided whether to recall the Prius. But several Japanese media outlets, including business newspaper Nihon Keizai and television network NHK reports the 2010 Prius recall is imminent.

The new Prius hybrid went on sale in Japan and the United States in May 2009. More than 170,000 of the new Prius models have been sold in Japan, with around 103,000 sold in the U.S. since May.

Toyota, reeling from massive global recalls of 4.5 million vehicles involving faulty gas pedals, has problems with the brakes in its prized Prius.

Complaints about braking problems in the Prius – the world’s top-selling gas-electric hybrid – have been reported in the U.S. and Japan, combining to some 180.

Takeuchi said Toyota has launched a probe into the luxury Lexus HS250h hybrid model for possible brake problems in Japan and the United States, The luxury hybrid the uses the same brake system as the new Prius hybrid.

“We want to ensure safety for our customers,” Takeuchi said. Toyota has not received any complaints about the Lexus HS250h, she said. The luxury HS250h went on sale in Japan in July 2009, and in September of 2009 in North America.



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