Toyota just recalled 340,000 examples of its questionably-styled new Prius because the cable-controlled foot-brake might not work. And that’d be a big problem on an incline, where the little sedan’s low rolling resistance tires and slick drag coefficient would turn this thing into a rolling hybrid of destruction.
Toyota’s recall affects 2016 and 2017 Priuses, 92,000 of which are in the U.S., over 200,000 of which are in Japan, and the remainder of which are in Europe and Australia.
According to the Associated Press, Toyota has said that as of October 3rd, the company doesn’t know of any reported crashes relating to this recall— an update from an earlier statement saying Toyota had “received reports of crashes, injuries and deaths.”
Toyota says if the parking brake fails, and “the driver exits the vehicle with the transmission in a gear other than ‘Park’ while the ignition is on, the vehicle could roll away.”
It’s worth noting that the recall specifies “while the ignition is on,” because the Prius automatically goes into park when the car is turned off. It’s also worth noting that the Prius has a strange electronic shifter, and even though it has a separate button for “park,” it could still be a bit confusing— hence why this park brake thing could be such a big deal.
Toyota’s solution is to have dealers add clips to the top of the park brake cable dust boot at no charge to customers.
Seems like an awfully simple solution. But then again, we’re talking about a foot-operated, cable-driven park-brake—it’s about as complex as the brakes on an old Schwinn.
Update 5:10 EST:
Toyota has sent us the following statement:
Based on a diligent but not exhaustive review of available data, we are not aware of any reports of crashes, injuries or fatalities related to this condition as of October 3, 2016. Despite this fact, this is an important safety recall and are urging customers to have this repair completed when parts become available. All known owners of the involved vehicles will be notified by first class mail starting in November.