Friday, February 12, 2010

Toyota Voluntarily Recalls 155,000 2010 Prius, Lexus Hybrids and Camrys in the U.S.

Toyota announced today they will begin to recall all 2010 Prius Hybrid and 2010 Lexus HS 250h vehicles because of braking systems malfunctioning. Also added to the voluntary recall is the 2010 Camry equipped with the 4-cylinder engine.

Approximately 133,000 Prius’, 14,550 Lexus’ and 7,300 Camry vehicles are involved in this recent voluntary recall made by Toyota after allegations from drivers complaining about their brakes not working. This number reflects the vehicles sold in the U.S.

The problem with the 2010 Prius and 2010 Lexus HS 250h vehicles stems from the anti-lock brake system, where some owners have reported experiencing inconsistent brake feel during slow and steady application of the brakes. This is happening on rough or slick road surfaces, when the ABS comes on in an effort to maintain tire traction.

The fix for the ABS brake problem in these vehicles is a software update to the ABS system to fix the inconsistent braking.

Toyota is saying the software update should take about 30 minutes to install and of course this estimated time is dependent on the work flow at the dealership. Toyota will cover all repair costs associated with this fix for the customer.

The issue with the Camry vehicles that are equipped with the 4-cylinder engine, is to do with a steering pressure hose in the engine compartment that may be the incorrect length. If this is the case, the power steering pressure hose may come in contact with the brake tube, causing a hole to wear in the brake tube causing the brake fluid to leak.

Toyota says if this is happening in the Camry, the dealer technician will adjust the space between the brake tube and the power steering pressure hose, and they may have to replace the brake tube if a hole has produced.

In all three cases, Toyota instructs customers who experience brake issues, to press hard on the brake pedal and the vehicle will stop safely.

According to Toyota, letters by mail will start to go out to consumers who have these affected vehicles this week instructing the owners when they should bring their vehicle into the dealership to be fixed. by if a consumer has one of these vehicles, they need to take it to their local Toyota dealer to have the technician inspect it and install either the software update or fix the break fluid tube (on the Camry).

For more information, click here, or customers can call the Toyota Customer Experience Center at: 800-331-4331 and Lexus customers can call the Lexus Customer Assistance Center at: 800-255-3987.

Toyota Voluntarily Recalls 155,000 2010 Prius, Lexus Hybrids and Camrys in the U.S.

Toyota announced today they will begin to recall all 2010 Prius Hybrid and 2010 Lexus HS 250h vehicles because of braking systems malfunctioning. Also added to the voluntary recall is the 2010 Camry equipped with the 4-cylinder engine.

Approximately 133,000 Prius’, 14,550 Lexus’ and 7,300 Camry vehicles are involved in this recent voluntary recall made by Toyota after allegations from drivers complaining about their brakes not working. This number reflects the vehicles sold in the U.S.

The problem with the 2010 Prius and 2010 Lexus HS 250h vehicles stems from the anti-lock brake system, where some owners have reported experiencing inconsistent brake feel during slow and steady application of the brakes. This is happening on rough or slick road surfaces, when the ABS comes on in an effort to maintain tire traction.

The fix for the ABS brake problem in these vehicles is a software update to the ABS system to fix the inconsistent braking.

Toyota is saying the software update should take about 30 minutes to install and of course this estimated time is dependent on the work flow at the dealership. Toyota will cover all repair costs associated with this fix for the customer.

The issue with the Camry vehicles that are equipped with the 4-cylinder engine, is to do with a steering pressure hose in the engine compartment that may be the incorrect length. If this is the case, the power steering pressure hose may come in contact with the brake tube, causing a hole to wear in the brake tube causing the brake fluid to leak.

Toyota says if this is happening in the Camry, the dealer technician will adjust the space between the brake tube and the power steering pressure hose, and they may have to replace the brake tube if a hole has produced.

In all three cases, Toyota instructs customers who experience brake issues, to press hard on the brake pedal and the vehicle will stop safely.

According to Toyota, letters by mail will start to go out to consumers who have these affected vehicles this week instructing the owners when they should bring their vehicle into the dealership to be fixed. by if a consumer has one of these vehicles, they need to take it to their local Toyota dealer to have the technician inspect it and install either the software update or fix the break fluid tube (on the Camry).

For more information, click here, or customers can call the Toyota Customer Experience Center at: 800-331-4331 and Lexus customers can call the Lexus Customer Assistance Center at: 800-255-3987.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Flash Drive: 2010 Jaguar XK Convertible

Flash Drive: 2010 Jaguar XK Convertible

By Staff of MSN Autos

View Pictures: 2010 Jaguar XK Convertible

The all-new 2010 Jaguar XK Convertible is propelled by a new 385-horsepower direct-injection 5.0-liter V8 engine, which is expertly mated to a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic transmission. Boasting nearly 30 percent more power, it makes the XK really fast. In addition, it benefits from all the modern technology that helps to keep it pointed in the right direction when the driver taps into that power. No longer a lithe sports car, the XK is a fantastic grand touring car with a spectacular interior. Like its predecessor, the supple leather seats are trimmed with contrast stitching. But now they're heated and cooled, and the dash features piano-black trim with touch-screen navigation. –Mike Meredith

One of the sexiest-looking convertibles on the road, the new XK reminds me of Jaguar's classic XKE roadster from the 1960s; the one with the long hood, wide oval grille and short trunk overhang. Unlike the classic XKE, however, this Jag is thoroughly modern, with a power retractable top that folds out of sight in about 20 seconds with the push of a button. Sadly, the rear seat is practically unusable, and trunk is barely large enough for a small suitcase, but this isn't a car you buy for its practicality. Its value lies in its good looks and the powerful V8 engine under the hood. But as good as this car is at making an impression and providing driving enjoyment on a sunny day, it's still hard to justify the $90K sticker price. –Perry Stern

The Jaguar XK makes a fantastic boulevard cruiser. The interior surfaces and materials are a dream to look at and touch; from the high-quality carpeting on the floor and doors to the suede headliner, the XK exudes grace. Although the XK feels like one of the last cars to have a fabric convertible top, as opposed to the folding hardtops of many competitors, I think it looks better for it. The fabric top does imply less sound insulation, and passing cars are easily audible inside the otherwise cosseting Jaguar. The engine sounds great and has plenty of power, but this is a sports coupe that emphasizes comfort and fashion over performance. And compared with other cars in its category, it has a competitive price tag. I'd even call it a bargain. –Paul Hagger

Toyota hit by over 100 Prius brake complaints

By SHINO YUASA, Associated Press Writer Shino Yuasa, Associated Press Writer –
Wed Feb 3, 7:12 am ET

TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. has been hit by over 100 complaints in the U.S. and Japan about brake problems with the popular Prius hybrid, the latest in a spate of quality troubles for the automaker as it grapples with massive global recalls.

The Japanese company's sales are being battered in the U.S. — Toyota's biggest market — after recalls of top-selling models to fix a gas pedal that can stick in the depressed position.
The new Prius gas-electric hybrid, which went on sale in Japan and the U.S. in May 2009, is not part of the recalls that extend to Europe and China, covering nearly 4.5 million vehicles.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received about 100 complaints involving the brakes of the Prius new model. Two involved crashes resulting in injuries. Japan's transport ministry said Wednesday it has also received 14 complaints since July last year about brake problems with Toyota's new Prius hybrid.

The 14 complaints included an accident in July 2009, in which a Prius crashed head on into another car at an intersection. Transport ministry official Masaya Ota said two people were slightly injured in the accident.

"The Prius driver in the accident told police that a brake did not work," Ota said. "Other Prius drivers also complained brakes were not so sharp." The complaints in Japan involve the new Prius model, and the vehicles were all made in Japan, he said.

The ministry ordered Toyota, the world's No. 1 automaker, to investigate the complaints. The other 13 cases happened from December to January 2010. Ota said the ministry has yet to receive a formal report on the complaints from Toyota.

Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said the company has received reports about the Prius complaints in North America and in Japan and was now looking into the matter.

Toyota shares plunged 5.7 percent to 3,400 yen ($38) with jittery investors dumping stocks in the wake of the Prius woes in the U.S. and Japan. The benchmark Nikkei stock index edged up just 0.3 percent to 10,404.33 as the drop in Toyota dampened sentiment.

"Investors were worried the latest trouble involving the Prius could get bigger. The problem could pose a bigger question on Toyota's quality and safety," said Kazuhiro Takahashi, market analyst at Daiwa Securities SMBC Co. Ltd.

Also Wednesday, the South Korean government said Toyota's local unit was recalling 444 vehicles over defects in gas pedals and floor mats.

The vehicles were made in North America, and the more than 19,000 Toyota vehicles imported from Japan weren't part of the recall, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said in a statement.

Toyota is facing growing criticism that it has not done enough to ensure the safety of its vehicles. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told The Associated Press Tuesday that federal officials had to alert Toyota to the seriousness of the safety issues that eventually led to the recalls.

"They should have taken it seriously from the very beginning when we first started discussing it with them," he said. "Maybe they were a little safety deaf."

LaHood also said the U.S. government was considering civil penalties for Toyota for having dragged its feet on safety concerns.

Toyota executive vice president Shinichi Sasaki acknowledged Tuesday in a Nagoya, Japan, news conference that it took prodding from NHTSA officials for the company to decide on the U.S. recall.

Toyota has long prided itself on sterling vehicle quality and assembly line methods that empowered workers to ensure faultless production.

The latest recall, announced Jan. 21, over sticky gas pedals affects 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. alone.

Any serious problems emerging in the Prius, Toyota's flagship green car model, is certain to further tarnish its brand.

The Prius, now in its third generation since its 1997 introduction, is the best-selling gas-electric hybrid in the world, racking up a cumulative 1.6 million units sold so far, according to Toyota.
Hybrids, by going back and forth between a gasoline engine and electric motor, tend to offer better mileage in slow-speed and stop-and-go driving that's common in crowded cities.
___

AP Business writers Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo and Kelly Olsen in Seoul contributed to this report.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010