Toyota says it is recalling about 437,000 Prius and other hybrid vehicles worldwide to fix brake problems, the latest in a string of embarrassing safety lapses at the world's largest automaker.
"I apologise for causing trouble and worries for many customers over the quality and safety of Toyota," President Akio Toyoda said at a press conference today in Tokyo.
"We sincerely acknowledge safety concerns from our customers," he said. "We have decided to recall as we regard safety for our customers as our foremost priority."
The recall is the latest blow to Toyota Motor Corp, which is in the midst of recalling more than 7 million vehicles worldwide because of problems with floor mats, which can trap gas pedals, and faulty gas pedals that are slow to return to the idle position. The Prius wasn't part of those recalls.
There have been about 200 complaints in Japan and the US about a delay when the brakes in the Prius were pressed in cold conditions and on some bumpy roads. The delay doesn't indicate a brake failure.
The company says the problem can be fixed by reprogramming the software that controls the braking system.
Toyota officials went to Japan's Transport Ministry earlier today to formally notify officials the company is recalling the 2010 Prius gas-electric hybrid the world's top-selling hybrid car.