Toy­ota to fix 650,000 Prius hy­brids for heat risk

The Pak Banker - - Company& -

DETROIT/ TOKYO: Toy­ota Mo­tor Corp will pay to fix about 650,000 Prius mod­els world­wide for a coolant pump glitch that could cause the topselling hy­brid to over­heat and lose power, the au­tomaker said.

The re­pair cam­paign cov­ers Prius cars for the model years 2004 to 2007. The bulk of the cars, or 378,000 units, are in the United States.

The Ja­panese au­tomaker said it had not re­ceived any re­ports of ac­ci­dents or in­juries from prob­lems with the pump, which cir­cu­lates coolant for the hy­brid sys­tem.

Ma­jor au­tomak­ers, in­clud­ing Toy­ota, of­ten con­duct re­pair cam­paigns that are sep­a­rate from safety re­calls filed with U.S. reg­u­la­tors in cases where they de­ter­mine that a de­fect does not present a safety risk.

Toy­ota said the de­sign of the elec­tric wa­ter pump let air bub­bles en­ter the sys­tem, slow­ing coolant cir­cu­la­tion and al­low­ing the hy­brid's com­po­nents to heat up.

The heat­ing up of the com­po­nents could trig­ger a warn­ing light. If left unat­tended, the Prius could over­heat and drop into a "fail-safe" mode where en­gine power would be re­duced, Toy­ota said.

Toy­ota said it would be­gin no­ti­fy­ing own­ers of the Prius re­pair cam­paign in the United States in early De­cem­ber.

The au­tomaker has used a dif­fer­ent pump de­sign on the Prius hy­brid since that time and uses a dif­fer­ent type of pump for other hy­brids, Toy­ota spokesman John Han­son said.

Toy­ota will cover the cost of the re­pairs, in­clud­ing more than $100 in la­bor for each Prius fixed at a U.S. deal­er­ship.

The re­pair cam­paign on one of the best-known Toy­ota ve­hi­cles comes at the end of a year in which the top global au­tomaker has strug­gled to dis­tance it­self from a dam­ag­ing se­ries of re­calls and con­cerns about its qual­ity man­age­ment.

Since last Novem­ber, Toy­ota has re­called about 14 mil­lion ve­hi­cles world­wide, in­clud­ing about 11 mil­lion in the United States.

More­over, The world's biggest au­to­mo­bile com­pany Toy­ota Mo­tor Cor­po­ra­tion has fi­nally seems to re­al­ize the grow­ing im­por­tance of the In­dian au­to­mo­bile mass mar­ket. The Ja­panese gi­ant which is present in the coun­try through a part­ner­ship with Kir­loskar group had been suc­cess­ful with its few prod­ucts like sedans Cor­rola and Camry and the fa­mous util­ity ve­hi­cle In­nova. But now fi­nally it is en­ter­ing the mass mar­ket with its Etios launch which will be un­veiled in the sedan ver­sion first and the hatch­back ver­sion later.

Toy­ota Corp Pres­i­dent Akio Toy­oda is fly­ing down for the event on Wed­nes­day which is seen as a very im­por­tant event for Toy­ota in In­dia along with its part­ner Kir­loskar group. Toy­ota Kirl­sokar Mo­tors (TKM) is pulling out al stops to make Etios a suc­cess.

While the book­ings for sedan start from De­cem­ber 1, the book­ings for hatch­back will be­gin from March.

Ac­cord­ing to agency re­ports, TKM's Deputy Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor (Mar­ket­ing) San­deep Singh has stated that book­ings for Etios sedan would be­gin on De­cem­ber one with de­liv­ery to start from Jan­uary one. But it also re­ported that Singh de­clined to talk about the price of Etios be­fore the launch but said the sedan would com­pete with the likes of Swift Dzire and Tata Manza and the hatch­back with Hyundai i20, Maruti Swift, Ford Figo and Polo of Volk­swa­gen.

The re­ports stated that TKM tar­gets to sell 70,000 units of Etios in the first year. "We are very ex­cited about the launch. -Bloomberg

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