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Toyota’s new concern: Prius brakes

Amy Scott Feb 3, 2010
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Toyota’s new concern: Prius brakes

Amy Scott Feb 3, 2010
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TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: The government of Japan has ordered Toyota to investigate possible brake problems with its new Prius hybrid model. The automaker’s already embroiled in its biggest-ever recall for sudden acceleration with some of its gas pedals. Marketplace’s Amy Scott is with us live in our New York bureau right now with the latest. Good morning Amy.

Amy Scott: Good morning, Steve.

Chiotakis: So what’s going on with this latest issue with the brakes?

Scott: Well officials in the U.S. and Japan say they’ve received more than 100 complaints about the brakes in Toyota’s new Prius. Drivers have complained that the brakes momentarily stop working at low speeds. And some of these incidents have involved crashes. Toyota says it’s looking into the complaints.

Chiotakis: Now this is more bad news, Amy, for a company that’s seen its sales fall, what, 16 percent last month? How damaging could this be for Toyota?

Scott: Well, that depends on their response. Of course, Toyota is still grappling with its latest recall of more than four million cars and trucks for faulty gas pedals. It started mechanical repairs this week, but now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is taking another look at whether problems of sudden acceleration stem from problems with the electronic throttle control system. Joe Philippi with Auto Trends Consulting says that could be a harder fix.

Joe Philippi: When you get into software issues that are random, then it becomes more, much, much more of an issue of how do we find it, how do we replicate it? That’s a much more difficult situation to identify.

And Steve, the transportation department is also reportedly considering imposing fines on Toyota over its handling of these recalls.

Chiotakis: Marketplace’s Amy Scott with us live from New York. Amy, thanks.

Scott: You’re welcome.

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